Sarah Foxwell: Maryland Girl’s Body Found

Sarah Maxwell went missing during the night on Tuesday. She was reported missing when she wasn’t in her bedroom on Wednesday morning, December 23, 2009. The 11-year-old Maryland girl’s body was found on Christmas Day.

Thomas J. Leggs, Jr., 30-years-old was arrested and charged with burglary and with kidnapping Sarah Haley Foxwell shortly after she went missing. He was the last person to be seen with her during the night on Tuesday.

Sarah and her 6-year-old sister lived with Amy Fothergill, their aunt and guardian. An under-age witness described Sarah as leaving the bedroom with someone she called ‘Tommy’ and described what he was wearing. Leggs was wearing the same clothes when he was questioned by police later in the day. The aunt noticed that Sarah’s toothbrush was missing, it was later found in a truck that Leggs admitted he had been driving. Leggs is a former boyfriend of Fothergill and a registered child sex-offender. He was taken into custody on Wednesday night for suspicion of burglary and kidnapping Sarah.

Local, state and federal investigators spent the days before Christmas searching for the missing girl throughout the area. Dive teams searched local lakes, sniffer dogs and helicopters were used to help in the search.

Thousands of people had shown up on Christmas to help search the area for Sarah, hoping she’d be found alive. Wicomico County Sheriff Mike Lewis held a news conference on Christmas Day to announce that the Maryland girl’s body was found in a rural Delmar area near the Delaware state line around 4 p.m. on December 25, 2009.

Thomas Leggs is a registered sex offender in both Maryland and Delaware. Authorities have described him as not being cooperative in the criminal investigation. Leggs has not been charged with addition crimes until an autopsy is completed on the Maryland girl’s body. He is currently being held at the Wicomico County Detention Center without bail.

Below is a video of the news conference in which it was reported that Sarah Haley Foxwell’s body had been found.

Autopsy shows British tourist was drunk

An autopsy on the body of British tourist who went missing from the Swiss ski resort of Wengen has shown that he had been heavily drinking before he died.

The body of the 23-year-old man, identified in media reports as Myles Robinson of London, was found on Monday at the foot of a 100-metre cliff halfway between the villages of Wengen and Lauterbrunnen.

Tests showed he was heavily under the influence of alcohol at the time of his death, with two parts of alcohol in every 1,000 parts blood, Bern cantonal police said in statement on Wednesday. Initial tests for drugs came back negative.

He is believed to have slipped and fallen over the cliff while trying to negotiate a steep path.

Robinson was staying in Wengen with his parents and sister and reported missing on December 22. He had failed to return after accompanying a friend to her hotel in the early hours.

An inquiry into the death continues but police do not expect to find a “definitive answer” to why had been walking on the path at the time.

Sniffer dogs and helicopters with infrared cameras had been called in to help with the search, but his body was eventually found by friends of the family.

swissinfo.ch and agencies

Rescuers find body after Nevis avalanche

John McHale, Reporter

Rescuers searching Ben Nevis’s north face after a reported avalanche have found a body.

A member of the public reported at 10.45 this morning that they believed two climbers had been caught in the avalanche in Coire na Ciste. Police have now confirmed one body has been found.

Lochaber Mountain Rescue Team members have been joined by colleagues from the RAF Leuchars team and animals and handlers from the Search and Rescue Dogs Association. A spokesperson for the Northern Constabulary said the search was continuing.

Search continues for Slappey

By Christian Jennings

ALBANY, GA (WALB) – The 9th day in the search for 34-year-old John Slappey's body ended unsuccessfully Tuesday. Crews have now searched 25-miles south of the Jim Woodruff dam on the Appalachicola River.

Cadaver dogs alerted search teams on a scent Tuesday but all they found was another duck decoy.

The Chattahoochee, Florida police chief says Slappey's body is likely pinned underneath something in the water or near the dam. Volunteer groups will stand guard on the water all night with lights just in case the body floats up to the surface.

They say they'll resume again Wednesday and keep searching through Sunday. After that they'll likely back down on their search teams.


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Body of missing canoer found Monday

By Rob Parsons/Tri-County Newspapers

The body of a missing Bayliss man was found Monday in the Sacramento River, more than five weeks after he disappeared while canoeing with a friend, the Glenn County Sheriff's Office reported.

James John Paidl, 62, fell into the cold, murky river water Nov. 23 while on a canoe trip down the Sacramento River with Robert William Heberle, 60, of Woodland.

Both were experienced boatsmen and neither man was intoxicated, authorities reported.

Heberle swam ashore and was not seriously hurt when their canoe capsized in rough waters. He was picked up by another boater, Robert Chauvin, who is the chaplain for the Chico Police Department, Sheriff Larry Jones said.

"Ironically, it would be the same person who later would discover the body of Paidl," Jones said.

Chauvin, 57, was on the river Nov. 23 when Paidl went under and had not returned to the river since that day, Jones said.

Chauvin was back on the river Monday to try out a new boat motor, Jones said, and discovered the body about a mile south of the primary search area.

Cadaver dogs, specialty equipment and an advanced diver from Chico scoured the bottom of the Sacramento River for Paidl's body for several weeks, but without success. The full-scale search was halted Nov. 26 due to poor weather and underwater visibility.

"We had hoped to find him before Christmas," Jones said, "but we'll take this, and hopefully now the family can have some closure."

City boasts 'top' cop, firefighter

by Laura Freeman

Reporter

Summit County prosecutor Sherri Bevan Walsh has named two local officials the "top cop" and "top firefighter" of December for their work in a double homicide case.

Hudson Fire Chief Robert Carter was named "top firefighter" and Hudson Police Lt. Kevin May was named "top cop" for their work in the arson and murder case involving Michael S. Knudson. Knudson was sentenced to 22 years in prison in November after pleading guilty to the April murders of his mother and brother.

Bevan Walsh said the case against Knudson was "virtually airtight due to [their] thorough investigative work."

"As a resident of Hudson, I feel fortunate to live in a community with so many outstanding police officers and firefighters," she said.

City Manager Anthony Bales said he agreed with the prosecutor and appreciated the recognition of the city's employees.

"We're very proud of them, and they deserve it," Bales said.

Carter and May said that the Knudson investigation involved fire, police and other officials and agencies.

"I certainly appreciate it, and it's not so much personal as recognition of a team effort," Carter said. "We had support from a number of other organizations."

May said he was honored to be nominated.

"We [normally] don't handle double homicide/arson cases in Hudson," May said. "I'm very proud of the organization and everyone's cooperation and professionalism."

The investigation

Carter said his involvement in the case began when the Hudson Fire Department responded to a house fire at 1280 Connecticut Woods Drive on April 5.

The fire was well advanced, Carter said. Streetsboro, Valley, Twinsburg and Macedonia fire departments assisted with the fire. Twinsburg and Macedonia assisted to dig out debris in the following days.

"The fire was discovered by someone who had stopped to look at the house after seeing it on the foreclosure list," Carter said. "Windows were left open and the fire had been burning some time."

Because of a 1,300-foot driveway and no nearby hydrants, a tanker shuttle had to bring water in to fight the fire, Carter said.

"We knew from the start we weren't going to save the main house, but we saved the section not initially involved in the fire," Carter said. "We knew the house would be demolished at some time, but were suspicious of the nature of the fire and wanted to preserve any evidence."

Safety officials determined that members of the Knudson family were missing.

"We knew from early on there were two parties unaccounted for and early on knew they were likely deceased," Carter said. "Their location was unknown."

May, who heads the detective bureau for the Hudson Police Department, began to search for Patricia Knudson, 64, and her son, John Knudson, 42.

Another son, Michael S. Knudson, 40, was seen leaving the property April 5 soon after the fire.

May said the police were able to track down Knudson using his mother's cell phone, which he had taken with him.

Police arrested him April 6 at the Haven of Rest in Akron, where he had personal belongings of his mother and brother, and their blood in the back of his SUV, according to the prosecutor's office.

May searched for the bodies through fire debris, utilizing such resources as the Mercyhurst Archaeological Institute, cadaver dogs from Ohio Search and Rescue, investigators from the State Fire Marshall's office, members of Summit County Medical Examiner's office, and police officers from Hudson.

"Initially, we thought the victims burned in the house," May said.

While walking around the property April 11, Hudson Police Lt. Sean McAleese pointed out a suspicious-looking wood pile, and police took another look at it. After moving the wood, they saw a blanket and garbage bag.

The bodies of Patricia and John Knudson were located in a shallow grave under the wood pile.

Bevan Walsh also recognized McAleese for his "keen eye at the crime scene" and Hudson Police Detective Kaija Jeantet for her attention to details as she handled much of the paperwork.

Knudson was sentenced Nov. 20 to 22 years in prison after pleading guilty in October to the beating death of Patricia and John Knudson. Knudson said in court he had been arguing with his mother and brother about financial problems.

Bevan Walsh called it "one of the most horrifying crimes the city of Hudson has ever witnessed."

May said if the investigation had gone to trial, police and prosecutors had more than enough evidence to convict Knudson. The guilty plea by Knudson ensures he will remain in prison for a long time, May said.

"We never had a chance to develop a case in court because of his guilty plea," Carter said.

Carter said the building has since been leveled and filled in. The building was insured, and a bank owns the property, he added.

The search teams wrapped up efforts Tuesday around 5 p.m. and are continuing on to day seven, looking for any sign of 77-year-old Fannie Corley

By Jana Barnello
Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Read more: Local, Fannie Corley, Missing Woman, Lee County, Lake Chehaw, Search, Albany, GA, Southwest Georgia, WFXL, FOX 31 News

Six days and no sign of a missing elderly woman.

The search teams wrapped up efforts Tuesday around 5 p.m. and are continuing on to day seven. 77-year-old Fannie Corley hasn’t been seen since Christmas Eve when her abandoned car was found on a bridge over Lake Chehaw.

The Department of Natural Resources brought in a top notch sonar device Tuesday afternoon to help narrow in on a scent cadaver dogs picked up on Monday. The sonar picked up on a mass under the water, but it turned out to be a log. It’s another false alarm in a six day search for Corley.

Six days of searching means a lot of man hours, a lot of resources, and a lot of money. However, Sheriff Reggie Rachals says no matter how expensive the search gets, they’re not giving up.

“We can’t put a price on anybody’s life,” Rachals said.

Since there’s no definite evidence showing Corley is in the water, the Lee County Sheriff’s office is asking anyone who thinks they might have seen her to call 229-759-6012.

Detectives re-examine ’68 cold case with few clues

December 29, 2009

By Warren Kagarise

Innocence Lost, a three-part series about the 1968 disappearance of David Adams.

Part 3: Clues

Investigators scoured Tiger Mountain for almost a week. Volunteers searched for days more. Still, the mountain yielded no secrets in the search for David Adams, the 8-year-old boy last seen near 15 Mile Creek in May 1968.

The disappearance baffled investigators. Left to work with few leads and scant evidence, the case faded into memory for more than four decades — until now.

In the spring, King County Sheriff’s Office investigators received a $500,000 grant to re-examine cold cases. The agency established a cold case unit; detectives treated the Tiger Mountain disappearance as a priority.

When David vanished May 3, 1968, authorities handled the case as a search-and-rescue effort. Perhaps the boy fell down a defunct coalmine shaft or suffered a wild animal attack. After exhaustive searches for David turned up no traces, people suspected something more sinister.

David played with a friend after school, and then left for the short trek home at about 5 p.m. Ann Adams, now 76, asked her son to return home for dinner just before he vanished.

“I have the firm, firm feeling that this was not an accident, that somebody was involved,” she said. “Now, whether it was an accident on their part, I don’t know if they deliberately set out to do harm to him. But somehow along in the association that they had, harm was done to him.”

The lead detective, Scott Tompkins, believes someone else caused the disappearance, too. Everything Tompkins knows about the case is contained in a binder labeled “homicide” — 41 years condensed into three inches.

Detectives collected little evidence from the area where 6-year-old Kevin Bryce last saw David. Nobody knows if searchers damaged other evidence during the hunt for the lost boy.

Tompkins said he was amazed by how little detective work was conducted in 1968, because authorities managed the disappearance as a search-and-rescue effort instead of a child abduction.

“If the community felt that he was attacked by a cougar or fell down a well, then it wasn’t on people’s minds,” he said.

‘Time is the enemy’

Robert Lowery, executive director of the missing children division for the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, said high-profile abductions and technological advances since 1968 reshaped the way investigators and people approach missing child cases.

“We’re more sensitive now about what happens in these cases,” he said.

Although people opened newspapers, listened to radios or watched television broadcasts filled with information about the case, many reports contained incorrect information.

The Seattle Times and Seattle Post-Intelligencer misidentified the lost boy as “David Adam.” Articles in the days after the disappearance carry reports about bogus sightings. Tompkins said a few reports turned out to be cruel hoaxes.

David disappeared almost a full day before the case received widespread attention. The disappearance received unprecedented coverage, but a key tool investigators use today to locate missing children — the AMBER Alert — was nonexistent in 1968.

Nowadays, information about a missing child can be beamed across TV news tickers, electronic highway signs and mobile phones minutes after authorities determine a child is lost.

But 41 years ago, authorities were unable to saturate the airwaves with the description for a slender boy, 4 feet tall, with dark brown hair and intense blue eyes, dressed in green-and-brown plaid shirt, jeans and high tops.

“Time is the enemy when it comes to finding a child,” Lowery said.

DNA technology, another crime-solving tool, was unimaginable 41 years ago. Detectives now collect a comb, toothbrush or another item chockablock with DNA traces from missing people to aid investigations.

Not long after the King County Sheriff’s Office revived the Adams investigation, agents collected DNA samples from Ann and Don Adams and uploaded the information in a national database. The agency also collected DNA — through a quick, oral swab — from the oldest Adams child, Steven, who lives in Alaska.

Known as the Combined DNA Index System, the database helps investigators compare forensic DNA evidence nationwide.

Tompkins said DNA samples are key in cold cases. If another law enforcement agency had recovered unidentified human remains, DNA from them could be matched against genetic profiles in the database.

Searchers recovered no traces of David. The first search teams scanned the forest near the Adams house in the hours after David failed to return home. King County investigators arrived the next morning, and volunteers came to Issaquah by the hundreds to search.

Military helicopters equipped with then-secret infrared sensors buzzed the area. Volunteers traveled south toward Mount Rainier to investigate reported sightings. Searchers used fabric strips torn from bed sheets on which David slept to help dogs pick up the scent.

Unanswered questions

Don Adams, then a captain in the Air Force Reserve, remembers the search dog teams well. He returned from Air Force training in Oklahoma days after his second-oldest son vanished.

But the dogs, like the searchers and the helicopters, found nothing. Don Adams, now 77, recalled a follow-up visit from searchers after organizers called off the hunt for David.

“A few weeks later, they came back, and they said the dogs had never failed to find who they were looking for if who they were looking for was there,” he said. “Based on that, I just assumed that somebody had taken him from the area.”

Detectives eyed a 20-year-old man early in the investigation, a U.S. Navy corpsman whose family lived near the Adamses. Police reports from the days after David disappeared show the man piqued detectives’ interest.

A search volunteer and Tiger Mountain residents said the man behaved in a strange way when asked about the disappearance. Neighbors told police they saw a man walking along Tiger Mountain Road the day David vanished.

A detective interviewed the man May 6, 1968 — three days after a schoolmate last saw David near 15 Mile Creek. The man told the detective he had been taking tranquilizers because, he said, he was “a very nervous person,” court documents state.

Tompkins requested a warrant in October to search mobile phone records because he felt the man, now a Lewis County resident, steered potential witnesses away from investigators. Tompkins described the man as a “person of interest” in the case.

The man agreed to a polygraph test, administered in April at the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. The man told Tompkins he assisted with the search. The man failed the test, court documents state. A technician recorded the strongest deception reading when the man was asked, “Do you know where the body is?”

The man also told Tompkins he passed a polygraph test in May 1968, court documents show. However, the test is not included in the modern-day Adams case file.

No conclusive evidence links the man to the disappearance. The Issaquah Press typically does not name people until they are charged with a crime.

Patrick Tiekamp, 64, is the older brother of the man interviewed by investigators. Tiekamp said Tompkins targeted his brother because the former neighbor happens to be “the last man standing.” Tiekamp said the investigation aggravated the post-traumatic stress disorder his brother developed in Vietnam.

“If my brother had done anything like that, he would have confided in me,” Tiekamp said.

Tiekamp said his brother served in Vietnam soon after David disappeared. In Vietnam, the man worked in a military morgue, and the word body still provokes strong reactions, Tiekamp said.

“Corpsman don’t kill people,” he added. “They save lives.”

‘All is well with David’

Ann and Don Adams never left Tiger Mountain where the family settled with David in 1968.

“There for a long time, we kept thinking maybe one day there would be a knock on the door and there he would be,” Ann Adams said. “We wanted to be there.”

They raised a close-knit family — six children in the house. A daughter was born a few years after David disappeared. Despite the disappearance and unsolved mystery, the Adamses said tragedy never forced them to become overprotective with the other children.

“We’ve had a happy, good life,” Ann Adams said. “Whoever was involved with this, I think I feel sorrier for them than I do for us. My life is just overflowing with good memories and happy days, but they must be carrying a terrible burden.”

The children biked, swam, hiked and picked berries in the thick forest nearby. Still, questions about David remained. Jill Stephenson, the Adamses’ oldest daughter, recalled how she walked through the woods as a child and wondered, “What if I came across him or his bones?”

When detectives renewed the investigation in April, the new attention the case received forced the Adamses to relive the pain from 41 years earlier.

Eileen Erickson, a longtime family friend, described Ann and Don Adams as hospitable, open people unlikely to become distracted by self-pity.

“I don’t think they’re the kind of people who would sit there and say, ‘Why me?’” Erickson said.

Searchers left the Adamses’ house about a week after David vanished. Grief lingered long after a family friend hoisted a bullhorn and ended the search.

“You just deal with grief as anyone deals with grief,” Ann Adams said. “Actually, when they contacted us last spring that they were going to open the case again, now and at this point, I can’t say that I hope they find out what happened. We’re at peace. I know all is well with David, whatever the circumstances are or were.”

Read Innocence Lost, Part 1: Missing here, and Innocence Lost, Part 2: Search here.

Warren Kagarise: 392-6434, ext. 234, or wkagarise@isspress.com. Comment at www.issaquahpress.com.

Washington employment lawyers alerts - Worker reported missing at chemical plant found dead

2009-12-29 04:27:40 (GMT) (JusticeNewsFlash.com - Employment Law, Justice News Flash)

Legal news for Washington employment attorneys. A worker who was reported missing on Christmas Day was found in a salt pile.

Washington employment lawyers alerts- A worker was found dead in a salt pile after being reported missing.

Longview, WA—A worker who was reported missing at a Longview chemical plant on Christmas Day was found dead on Sunday, December 27, 2009 in a massive pile of salt. The worker was reported missing around 4:30 p.m. at the Equa-Chlor plant, while on his Christmas Day shift, as reported by KATU.

The Cowlitz County Sheriff’s Office, Longview Fire Department, and search-and-rescue dogs were dispatched to the Weyerhauser complex to search for 25-year-old, Justin J. Florek. Rescue teams scoured nearly 45,000 tons of salt by hand and by excavators, when they discovered Florek’s stocking cap two days after he was reported missing. The Cowlitz County Coroners Office stated that according to their preliminary examination, it did not appear that foul play was involved, nor did they find any obvious injuries; suffocation appears to be the obvious cause of death. It is unknown how Florek ended up in the massive pile of salt. Equa-Chlor reportedly uses the salt mixed with water and electricity to make chlorine and caustic soda. Police officials are reportedly conducting a full investigation into the fatal incident. The U.S. Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) are also expected to conduct an investigation as well.

Legal News Reporter: Nicole Howley-Legal news for Washington employment lawyers.

Dive teams to search Hudson, again, for signs of missing boy

NEWBURGH – Newburgh City and State Police divers are expected to spend the weekend searching the Hudson River for any signs of Marc Bookal, 4, the Newburgh youth who disappeared from his Benkard Avenue home on December 14.

Newburgh Police spokesman Lt. Charles Broe said searchers have completed an entire ground search of the southeast section of the city finding no clues as the whereabouts of the youth.

There had been a riverfront search by police K-9s as well as a river search with cadaver sniffing dogs.

Now, between city and state police divers, Broe anticipated between six and 10 divers in the river over the weekend. Because of the cold temperatures, individual officers won’t be able to stay in the water for long, so there will be a lot of rotation, he said.

Bloodhounds had indicated the possibility of some clues along the river, so that is what is bringing the divers to the river, Broe said.

Search for Vt. grandma's remains postponed by snow

By JOHN CURRAN (AP) – 5 days ago

MONTPELIER, Vt. — Stymied by snow, frozen ground and a vague lead, homicide investigators have postponed a search for the remains of an elderly woman with Alzheimer's disease who police say was shot to death and incinerated by her daughter and buried by her grandson.

"Unfortunately, Vermont in winter really doesn't help us out when we're trying to do this type of search," said Major Ed Ledo, commander of the Vermont State Police's criminal division. "You're putting people out there in below-zero weather with wind blowing, and you're trying to dig through frozen ground. Not very productive."

Investigators will resume searching in the spring for the remains of Mary Wilcox, a 78-year-old Westford woman who suffered from Alzheimer's disease and was reported missing by her family in 2006.

Prosecutors said last week that she was shot to death by her 59-year-old daughter, Jeanne Sevigny, who then burned the body in a backyard fire pit and put the charred remains in a suitcase that she gave to her son to bury.

Gregory Sevigny, 30, who is Wilcox's grandson, allegedly buried the suitcase in woods behind Westford Elementary School.

She's charged with second-degree murder and is being held without bail. Police said she told them that Wilcox was shot during a struggle that began when Sevigny found her with a pistol and tried to take it away from her. Gregory Sevigny is charged with unlawful disposal of a body.

According to a police affidavit, Gregory Sevigny said the remains consisted of a skull, spinal cord and bones, which he said he buried next to a big rock on a trail behind the school.

Crime scene investigators spent three days searching for the remains in the woods behind the red brick elementary school and used cadaver-sniffing dogs, but were unable to find them.

"You want to move away the debris on the ground to see if it's been disturbed or possibly dug there, but with snow, frost and bitter cold, and not having a precise location of where she was disposed of, it's very difficult," Ledo said Wednesday.

He said Gregory Sevigny, through his attorney, was trying to assist but that the burial occurred at night and in foul weather, and it was three years ago. Asked if police believe Gregory Sevigny was being truthful in describing the location, Ledo said: "He's trying to remember as best as he can, but who's to say? We're taking him for his word on where he recalls disposing of the remains."

His lawyer, Bob Katims, said Sevigny was being as helpful as he could be to police.

Katims acknowledged that the absence of a body — and the fact that the pistol used hasn't been found — could be a problem for prosecutors.

"I don't know what the ramifications would be if nothing's ever found. It certain presents challenges to the prosecution, but there may be ways around those challenges. We'll just see what happens," Katims said.

The prosecutor in the case, Chittenden County State's Attorney T.J. Donovan, said he is confident in the evidence gathered to date but that the investigation will continue.

Woman's disappearance still a mystery

By: BEN FINLEY
Bucks County Courier Times

Police are still searching for information on Kathleen Mohn, who went missing in December 1999.

A week after Kathleen Mohn disappeared, her husband drove to Delaware to visit her father.

Thomas Mohn arrived with the Christmas presents his wife had bought for her two young nieces. The gifts, which included a doll on a skateboard, already had been wrapped.

Thomas Mohn told Kathleen's father he was passing along those gifts - two weeks before Christmas - because he didn't know when his wife would come home, her family said.

A few days later, Kathleen's Ford Explorer was discovered in the parking lot of a KFC in Tullytown. Police found seven air fresheners inside. The truck was uncharacteristically clean. A cadaver dog reacted excitedly to the smell of the passenger seat.

After initially sharing some information, police said Thomas Mohn, an Upper Merion dentist, stopped talking to them.

Detectives said they learned that Kathleen, 48, an X-ray tech, was on the verge of filing for divorce. She was seeing another man, according to police.

Kathleen Mohn disappeared 10 years ago this month. She still hasn't come home. And detectives say Thomas Mohn still hasn't cooperated in their search for his wife.

He has never called Upper Merion police to ask about the investigation - which remains active - Detective Rick Gehman said last week.

"His lack of concern - his failure to inquire regarding the investigation - is somewhat suspicious," Gehman said. "Would we like to talk to him? Absolutely, we would."

But on Tuesday evening, Thomas Mohn said he isn't talking because he "has nothing to add'' to the investigation into his wife's disappearance.

In a phone conversation from his Upper Merion home, Thomas Mohn said he couldn't offer any theories on what happened to Kathleen. He said he "hadn't heard anything (regarding her disappearance). I don't have any current information."

When asked if he had anything to do with his wife's disappearance, he answered, "No," adding, "That's offensive for someone to ask, particularly during the holiday season.''

Because the couple lived in Upper Merion, police there are investigating her disappearance. However, Kathleen was spending a lot of time in Bristol Township before she went missing, visiting a man she was having an affair with, police said. Her Ford Explorer was found in Tullytown, and police searched the surrounding area for her body.

In 2000, then-Montgomery County District Attorney Bruce Castor III said Thomas Mohn had the right to stay silent regarding his wife's disappearance. Castor said Thomas Mohn's reticence is not evidence that he had done anything wrong.

"However, if my wife were missing, I think I would be doing everything I could to locate her," Castor said then. "He could have any number of reasons (not to talk), although I can't think of any off the top of my head."

The current DA, Risa Vetri Ferman, last week said members of her office still think about the case and hope it will be solved.

A bad marriage

Kathleen's brother, Frank Maykut Jr., said he doesn't remember how she and her husband met. He said their marriage started out well. But they were very different people, he said. Kathleen was very social. Thomas wasn't.

Almost every week she would visit her father, her brother and his daughters in Delaware - without her husband, Maykut said. The couple was married for more than 20 years.

By September 1999, Kathleen Mohn was seeing another man, Robert Linder of Bristol Township. An address and phone number for Linder couldn't be found to give him a chance to comment.

In January 2000, Linder told the newspaper he and Kathleen had met through a mutual friend.

"We went to dinner one night, and it just escalated from there," he said, adding Kathleen Mohn usually spent every weekend at his house.

Linder said Mohn was extremely unhappy in her marriage.

"There was actually no marriage, just living quarters," he said. "She made up her mind about getting a divorce. She didn't want to hide (this relationship) from her husband."

After her disappearance, Upper Merion police began interviewing coworkers and friends of Kathleen and Thomas Mohn. Police included a lot of the information they gathered in a warrant to search the couple's home in Gulph Mills.

Kathleen had told a friend she would be entitled to 65 percent of her husband's dental practice in a divorce, according to the warrant. Kathleen told another friend she expected to receive between $3,000 and $4,000 a month in support payments, according to the warrant.

Not long before she disappeared, Thomas Mohn confided in one of his employees that his wife might be leaving him, the warrant said.

"He told me that she was in love with another man," the search warrant quoted the employee as saying. "He was upset. I could see that he had been crying."

About a week before she vanished, Kathleen told relatives her husband had "got down on his hands and knees and said, 'Kathy, don't do that. You'll bankrupt me,' " her father, Frank Maykut Sr., 82, told the Associated Press in 2002.

Kathleen was last seen on Dec. 3, a Friday. The X-ray technician had worked that day at her husband's dental practice in Ardmore. She then went home.

According to Linder at the time, Kathleen was regularly spending her weekends with him. But on that Friday, Kathleen told Linder she couldn't meet up with him that night. She said she had to wrap presents for her two nieces, ages 7 and 10, according to Linder. The gifts included three Spice Girls dolls and a doll on a skateboard.
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Linder told police he had convinced Kathleen to come over anyway, saying they could wrap the gifts together. But she never arrived.

When she didn't show up in Bristol Township that night, and didn't return about 20 of his phone calls, Linder figured maybe Kathleen had reconciled with her husband.

Thomas Mohn reported his wife missing Dec. 5. When the husband initially talked to Upper Merion police, he gave them background information and said he last saw his wife Friday about 9 p.m. when she left the house, according to police.

The following Saturday, Dec. 11, Thomas Mohn arrived at his father-in-law's house in Wilmington. He gave Frank Maykut Sr. the Christmas presents Kathleen had bought for her nieces.

Speaking last week, Maykut Sr. said: "Why did he bring those gifts down here? Did he know she wasn't coming back?"

Maykut Sr. said that was the last time he saw or heard from his daughter's husband.

The following Thursday, Dec. 16, police found Kathleen's Ford Explorer. It was parked at the now-closed KFC on Route 13 near Levittown Parkway. Employees said it had been there since at least Dec. 5.

The vehicle was "immaculate," there wasn't even an ash in the ashtray, police said. That wasn't the way Kathleen kept it, police said. Also out of character were the five pine tree car fresheners and a Glade stick that scented the interior.

Inside the SUV, police found her purse, medication, eyeglasses and cigarettes. Her wallet was gone.

The Explorer's driver seat had been pushed all the way back. That made it unlikely the 5-foot 2-inch Kathleen was the last person to drive it, police said.

Detectives recovered a video taken at the Bristol exit of the Pennsylvania Turnpike. It showed Kathleen's SUV exiting the highway on Saturday, Dec. 4, at 9:54 a.m. The video showed a person with blond hair - like Kathleen's - slumped against the passenger-side window.

All that could be seen of the driver was an elbow.

The search

In the search warrant filed in Montgomery County in December 1999, police said they believed Kathleen Mohn was the victim of a kidnapping and/or murder. Inside the Mohn home, police found a dirty pair of jeans, a dirty shovel and red stains, believed to be blood, on a wall, according to police.

Because her Ford Explorer was found in Lower Bucks, police helicopters buzzed over the Delaware Canal, Levittown Lake and the Levittown Shopping Center in search of a body. Investigators scoured the area in the driving, cold rain.

A cadaver dog had grown excited at the smell of the passenger seat in Kathleen's Ford Explorer. And a cadaver dog grew excited around a particular spot in a wooded area under the Pennsylvania Turnpike bridge. A backhoe was brought in. Nothing was found.

Police theorized the car was ditched in Levittown because the person could catch SEPTA's R-7 line across Route 13 from the KFC. The cops also thought the car was placed there to cast suspicion on Linder, Kathleen's boyfriend, because he lived nearby.

But by that point in the investigation, Linder had been eliminated as a suspect, according to police. Detectives said the person they really wanted to talk to was Thomas Mohn.

"For all we know, Kathleen Mohn is the victim of random violence," Castor, the then-Montgomery County DA, had said. "I can't explain why (Thomas Mohn is) behaving the way he is."

About six months after Kathleen disappeared, her brother Frank called Thomas Mohn.

"I had reached the breaking point, and I called him," Maykut said last week. "He didn't show any emotions towards her disappearance. He's a very smug monotone-ish kind of guy. That got on my nerves, and I started hollering at him over the phone."

Maykut said he eventually hung up on Mohn.

In a 2000 interview with the Philadelphia Daily News, Thomas Mohn said he had "no idea" what had happened to his wife.

"My situation has been extremely sad since my wife disappeared," he said then. "Her disappearance has been a sad turn of events. Hopefully, there will be a resolution so this whole matter will be behind us."

Gehman, the Upper Merion detective, said a photo of Kathleen Mohn sits on the desks of two detectives. Four copy paper boxes full of files on that case sit behind him.

"Technology has changed over the last 10 years, and all of the evidence is currently being re-evaluated and re-examined," he said.

Kathleen's nieces are now 17 and 20.

"They really miss her," Kathleen's brother said. "And I was really close to her. At that time, I was divorced, and she was a big help to me in raising my daughters. The impact she had on their lives shows today."

A few days after Kathleen's husband drove to Delaware to drop off the Christmas presents, the police confiscated them. They were still wrapped. The dolls Kathleen Mohn bought her nieces for Christmas have been locked up as evidence for 10 years.

If you can help

Anyone with information regarding the Kathleen Mohn case is asked to call Upper Merion police at 610-265-3232 or e-mail Detective Rick Gehman at rgehman@umtownship.org

Search continues for woman missing after Christmas Eve crash in Stoddard County

Tuesday, December 29, 2009 ~ Updated 12:09 PM
By Noreen Hyslop ~ The Daily Statesman

POWE, Mo. -- A Missouri State Highway Patrol helicopter from Troop C in St. Louis entered the search effort Monday for Shirley Stratton, the Bernie, Mo., woman who was swept into the flood waters along Route U about one mile west of the Powe community early on Christmas Eve morning.

According to the patrol's information officer, Sgt. Dale Moreland, the helicopter was put in service Monday afternoon, but was unsuccessful in finding any trace of the missing woman.

The search effort includes the highway patrol, the Missouri State Water Patrol, the Missouri Department of Transportation, the Stoddard County Sheriff's Department and family members and volunteers.

According to the highway patrol, Stratton was traveling west on Route U Thursday morning on her way to work at the SATOP office at Poplar Bluff, Mo., when her vehicle hydroplaned and slid into the high ditch waters that were nearly to the level of the highway from continuous rains.

Moreland confirmed that two witnesses to the accident rushed to rescue the woman from her vehicle after it floated downstream for a distance of over 400 feet and became lodged on top of a large culvert.

"The front half of the vehicle was submerged," Moreland reported, "and one of the men entered the water to help the driver, but she was pulled under the water by the current."

Moreland explained that rescuers believed Stratton was still inside the submerged vehicle, a 1999 Ford Taurus, until they pulled the car from the ditch, and discovered the car empty.

Volunteers and divers from the water patrol were deployed shortly thereafter. Two articles of clothing, a shoe and a jacket, were found later Christmas Eve day after the vehicle was pulled from the water.

Stratton's husband, John Wayne Stratton, along with his sons and several other relatives, have spent their daylight hours walking the ditch banks and aboard all-terrain vehicles looking for any other trace of their loved one.

"I still have hopes that she got out of the water," John Stratton said Saturday, as divers were lowered in a water patrol boat into the ditch to begin the dredging process.

The water patrol, however, is proceeding with what they are referring to as a "recovery effort," according to that agency's Jefferson City office.

Water patrol divers braved frigid water temperatures and high winds with temperatures hovering around 30 degrees over the weekend as they waded chest-high waters. Sunday, Monday, and into Tuesday, divers have continued sweeping the ditch waters for any sign of the missing woman. Ice had formed along the ditch banks and was broken by search poles as the divers waded westward down the ditch. Waters Saturday had receded to about five feet by noon, and water temperatures were estimated by the water patrol to be in the low 40s.

Efforts Monday were concentrated in the wooded area that lies close to where the vehicle went into the water, Moreland said.

He added that a plan was in place to bring cadaver dogs onto the scene Tuesday to aid in the recovery mission.

Shirley Stratton is 49 years old. She is a native of the Philippines and moved to the area after her marriage to John Wayne Stratton just a few years ago.

"She planned to test for U.S. citizenship in 2010," her husband said Saturday.

The couple's home is in Bernie, where her children attend Bernie Schools.

Stratton is an employee of the SATOP office in Poplar Bluff and has for some time worked two days each week in the Dexter SATOP office on Business Highway 114.
© Copyright 2009 seMissourian.com

Richmond man's murder conviction upheld

Christine Ferretti / The Detroit News

Richmond -- The state Court of Appeals has affirmed the 2008 conviction of a Richmond man who kidnapped and murdered a Washington Township woman and dumped her body in a lake.

The court, in an opinion released Tuesday, disagreed with David Wright's assertion that the trial court erred by denying a motion to suppress a statement he gave police about the June 2007 murder of Marilou Johnson. Wright claims investigators didn't honor his right for legal representation and manipulated his mother, who "deceived" him into waiving his rights.

Wright was convicted of felony murder, kidnapping and larceny in connection with Johnson's June 14, 2007, death. Johnson, 50, was killed in the driveway of the home she shared with her sons and boyfriend. Her body was recovered from Cass Lake in Oakland County on June 27, 2007.

Wright was issued two life sentences on the kidnapping and murder offenses and received two to four years for the larceny charge.

The Appeals Court ruling notes Wright originally told police he'd accidentally killed Johnson and buried her body near his family cottage. He later dug it up over fear cadaver dogs would locate it. Then, he weighed the body down with blocks and dropped it into the lake.

But before his May 2008 trial, Wright changed his story, alleging Johnson was stabbed by her live-in boyfriend. And he testified that he merely disposed of the body, with the understanding that Johnson's boyfriend -- Roger Blanchard -- would compensate him.

Prosecutors, however, said Wright killed Johnson during a robbery and attempted to extort money from Blanchard.

The Appeals Court ruling also disagrees with Wright's challenge of the trial court's refusal to conduct an evidentiary hearing on his competency to waive Miranda rights on claims he'd suffered a head injury as a teen that left him "vulnerable to coercion."

The court also shot down allegations that Wright's due process rights were violated when an alternative motive involving a financial settlement between the victim's children and boyfriend was excluded from trial. Additionally, the court did not agree with an argument that the evidence was insufficient to support Wright's conviction and sentence.

Hwang Cloning Bomb-Sniffing Canine

By Kim Tong-hyung
Staff Reporter

Cloning expert Hwang Woo-suk has created clones of a skilled bomb-sniffing canine in active service at the request of the Jeju Provincial Police Agency, according to a key collaborator. The cloned puppies are expected to be born next month.

The four-year-old German shepherd, named ``Quinn,'' made headlines during an investigation of a high-profile child murder case that shocked the island in 2007.

Despite being trained for only three days to detect human scent, the dog needed just 20 minutes to find the body of the victim at an orchard near the scene of the crime, bailing out more than 30,000 police officers who had been searching in vain for over a month.

Considering it normally takes four to five months to train a cadaver dog, Quinn's heroics were indicators of superior natural ability as a search dog, said Hyun Sang-hwan, a Chungbuk National University scientist and colleague of Hwang at the Sooam Biotech Research Center in Yongin, Gyeonggi Province.

Quinn is also in high demand for his regular job as a bomb-sniffing dog, being dispatched on more than 180 missions, including the 2005 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Busan and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)-Korea summit on Jeju earlier this year.

The surrogate mother used for the clones of Quinn is currently expected to give birth to three puppies in January, Hyun said.

``Quinn is clearly the best search dog working for the Jeju police, which is why the provincial police agency wants the clones. We decided to provide the cloned puppies for free,'' Hyun said.

``We first took a body cell from Quinn, produced a reconstructed embryo and introduced it into the surrogate mother's womb in October. The expected dates of birth for the three puppies are Jan. 2, Jan. 14 and Jan. 21.''

During his days as a Seoul National University (SNU) scientist, Hwang was one of the key researchers involved in the 2005 cloning of Snuppy, the world's first cloned dog.

Hwang was fired from SNU in the following year after his landmark work on cloned human stem cells was exposed as fraudulent. However, Snuppy happens to be one of Hwang's verified achievements.

Skulls found in Angeles forest a jigsaw puzzle

By Ari B. Bloomekatz

One of the skulls was marked by a large circular hole in the forehead, which authorities suspect was a bullet wound.

The other, found roughly 25 to 50 yards away in a remote section of the Angeles National Forest, showed signs of severe trauma.

On Monday, a forensic anthropologist and other investigators examined the skulls and other human bones found in the area last week. The bones are like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle that authorities hope will lead them to the identities of the victims and eventually to who or what killed them.

The Los Angeles County coroner's office said Monday the deaths appear suspicious but that officials won't know for sure until more tests are done.

"It appears that both of them are homicides, but we're not going to say right now," said Ed Winter of the coroner's office.

Winter said a forensic anthropologist was poring over the bones, trying to match up which pieces belonged to which skull.

Then will come the task of pinning down the race, age and sex of each set of remains. Investigators hope to have that done by the end of the week.

Authorities will comb through missing-persons databases and local and federal law enforcement records, searching for possible matches. Investigators will then use various means, such as dental records, to try to identify the remains.

Homicide detectives aren't likely to jump on the case until the coroner can provide a cause of death, as well as identifications.

Right now, there are few clues.

One of the skulls shows signs that it could have been burned during last summer's Station fire, suggesting the remains might have been there before the fire started. The other was found buried under a couple of inches of dirt, Winter said.

Law enforcement authorities and coroner's investigators are unsure how long the remains had been there.

The remains were found near a turnout off Angeles Forest Highway near Lucas Creek.

The first skull was found by two hikers Thursday; the second was found Saturday by a team of detectives, archaeologists and other investigators.

One tool investigators used to find the bones was a cadaver dog, a German shepherd called Indiana Bones, that was able to sniff out some of the remains.

Officials search lake area for missing Hurt woman

Authorities are concentrating their search for a missing Hurt area woman at Leesville Lake, Lt. Boyd Arnold of the Pittsylvania County Sheriff's Office said Tuesday.

Arnold said no one has had contact with Brenda Eades, 57, who lives on Grit Road, since Tuesday, Dec. 15.

Searches in the area and in Harrisonburg have been unsuccessful, although her 2006 silver Jeep was found Friday. Arnold said the vehicle was parked at a vacant house in a Marina Drive subdivision. He said Eades, who's a loan officer at First National Bank in Altavista, had been involved in the house's sale. He said the new owners hadn't moved into the house.

Based on where the vehicle was found, things the family has told law enforcement and actions by search dogs, Arnold said, "The suspicion is she is in the lake."

He said the sheriff's department bloodhound indicated she went to the edge of the lake and cadaver dogs indicated a body is in the water.

On Tuesday, officials were going to the lake site to mark an area for a more elaborate search Wednesday with Virginia Canine Response Team dogs, an underwater dive team from the Virginia State Police and an underwater camera from the Moneta Volunteer Fire Department. That camera was also used Monday.

Search Continues for Missing Leighton Man

The search continues for the Leighton man who disappeared after sheriff deputies busted up a dog-fighting raid on Saturday, December 19th.

Sheriff Gene Mitchell says family members first feared, 30-year-old Justin Fuqua, had fallen into a creek after the raid over a week ago. However, there have been reports that he may have been seen on Tuesday, December 22nd.

Yesterday, about twenty search and rescue workers scowered the area where Fuqua's body is believed to be located. They are having to battle the elements of fast currents, near zero visibility and forty-eight degree water. The Lawrence County Emergency Management Agency has brought in several cadaver dogs teams as well as highly trained dive teams to aid in the search.

One of the searchers told WAAY 31 reporter, Ross Sather, "We did a pretty good search of the water. Our canine and one of the other canines that was here earlier this morning gave us the same indication in the same area that we were in yesterday."

Sheridan woman, German shepherd train for searches

By JANET DONOHO

He is powerful, athletic, devoted.

He wears an intelligent expression, ears pricked, eyes alert.

He is Dillon, a German shepherd and certified trailing K9 who works with owner and handler Cathleen Orr of Sheridan.

Dillon celebrated his fifth birthday Friday, and for the past three years, his life has been one of training to develop skills necessary to become a search and rescue dog.

He exudes energy and enthusiasm as Orr works with him on a crisp winter afternoon. He listens intently, following her verbal commands.

"German shepherds are intelligent dogs who need to use their mind," said Orr. "I believe a dog has purpose, talents and abilities. It was important to me to find something for Dillon that he would be good at."

Dillon's breeder, Cel Hope of Sheridan, director of the Dog & Cat Shelter, suggested Dillon might be a good search dog candidate.

Orr began reading and researching, attending seminars and setting about to see if Dillon might qualify. She contacted trainers in Wyoming and Montana, eventually becoming involved with Tri-State-K9 in Helena, Mont.

Dillon was evaluated at Tri-State for his potential as a SAR dog to determine his abilities, confidence, drive, endurance, determination and temperament.

"We look for drive in evaluating a search dog," said Orr. "They require a good prey or hunt drive, the ability to stay with a task _ to go after something and not give up."

There seemed little question that Dillon possessed the traits to be a successful trailing dog _ one directed to follow the scent of a specific person. (Other SAR dogs may be trained in air-sniffing, tracking, or as water, avalanche, disaster or cadaver dogs).

By presenting Dillon with an item belonging to an individual, his nose leads the way in an effort to locate a missing subject.

Orr said a "scent article," such as a dirty sock, hat or glove in a Ziploc bag, can be presented to Dillon before an exercise. His sense of smell is fine-tuned enough, however, to work from a credit card, a piece of chewed gum, even a spot where an individual scuffed his feet.

Orr works with Dillon in harness and on a lead.

In a sea of odors, Dillon's sense of smell _ dozens of times more powerful and discerning than humans' _ can follow the scent of the specific person.

Learning to trail meant countless hours invested in learning commands, harnessing routines, and exercises trailing subjects.

Progress was logged, objectives continually set and met; journals noted successes or areas needing improvement. Orr said training as a handler meant trusting Dillon's instincts.

Orr stated that although trailing is work, Dillon needs to perceive it as a game with rewards and praise when tasks are successfully completed.

"You have to make it fun for the dog," she said. "He's working for the victim and the reward that follows _ and sometimes, locating the victim is the reward."

And when Dillon successfully locates a subject?

"He feels a sense of pride and continues to gain confidence," said Orr.

Dillon, however, is not the only one who has benefited from the training. Orr has excelled at being a handler and said she has come to know herself better through work with Dillon.

"I have learned so much, developed my own sense of confidence, patience and self-control," she said. "We learn from each other, but I feel I have received so much more from him than he has from me."

Orr stated that becoming certified with Tri-State-K9 was a tremendous time investment, apparent when observing the undeniable bond between dog and handler.

Orr, a victim advocate at Advocacy and Resource Center in Sheridan, is also a member of the National Association for Search and Rescue, National Search Dog Alliance, and Wyoming Search and Rescue Association.

She is a certified SAR Technician II, trained in "managing the lost person incident" (training to perform as an initial responder on lost person incidents), first aid, navigation and survival skills.

Orr said she believes the two are the only certified team in the Sheridan area, and although they have not yet been called on a search, they are ready to report when the call comes.

Though trained mainly to work in rural and wilderness settings, Dillon has done some urban training and may eventually be trained as a cadaver dog.

"We just want to be an asset to the community," said Orr. "If a dog can serve his community, what a gift it can be."

Cadaver dogs join in search for missing Lee County woman

By Jim Wallace

ALBANY, GA (WALB) –

Divers went into the Kinchafoonee Creek at Lake Chehaw late Monday afternoon as the search for 77-year old Fannie Corley continues.

Cadaver dogs hit on an area about a quarter mile downstream from the Jefferson Street bridge where investigators suspect Corely jumped in the water.

Tracy Sargent and her dogs rode in a Department of Natural Resources boat, searching the shore line first and then areas in the canal.

The dogs both pinpointed an area near a buoy in the turn before the Cleve Cox landing.

K9 Search and Rescue Specialist Tracy Sargent said "We're detecting human remains scent. And due to the fact that scent rises to the surface because the surface is warm. What we do is work the dogs on the water. Once they respond to an area we follow up with other resources such as sonar or divers."

Search and Rescue teams from Albany and Lee County used sonar to check the area the dog's alerted to, and divers went into the Creek to search late Monday.

The Corley family waited on the bank with first responders and volunteers and wanted to thank all the people who have helped in the search.

Investigation continues into apparent homicides

By Lisa Rogers
Times Staff Writer

Published: Friday, December 18, 2009

Cadaver dogs are expected to help search a field where burned remains of two men have been found south of Attalla in Etowah County.

The biggest piece of bone found so far is about 4 inches, Sheriff Todd Entrekin said in a news conference Thursday.

The burned remains are believed to be those of Rocky Morgan, 55, and his nephew, James Bachelor, 38, Entrekin said.

Morgan's daughter, Margie Morgan Kelley, 35, is charged with hindering prosecution, and her husband, Robert Wayne Kelley, 35, is charged with two counts of capital murder, Etowah County District Attorney Jimmie Harp said.

Robert Wayne Kelley was arrested by sheriff's investigators late Wednesday at a local hospital after he went there earlier in the week.

“We believe he was trying to get somewhere that he thought we couldn't get to him,” Entrekin said.

Harp would not discuss details that led to Margie Kelley being charged with hindering prosecution, but said in a typical hindering prosecution charge, a suspect usually helps dispose of the body.

“Her actions fall within that,” Harp said. “As this investigation goes on, those charges may morph into something else and they may not.”

The men were reported missing on Dec. 11 and were last seen on Dec. 2 where they lived at Rocky Morgan's home on Rocky Hollow Road, Entrekin said.

Margie Kelley had been living with her father, but her husband was living somewhere else. She continued to live there after her father's death until she was arrested Tuesday.

It first was reported the men were last seen with plans to go fishing in Guntersville, but the men never went fishing, and it was part of the Kelleys' story about their whereabouts. The men were supposed to be in Morgan's truck, a 1993 Chevrolet, and it has been found, Entrekin said. A family member other than either of the Kelleys reported them missing, Entrekin said.

It is believed the men were shot and killed at the Rocky Hollow Road home, left there for several days, then taken in a van during a period of a few days about three miles to the field on Center Road, just off U.S. Highway 11, Entrekin said.

Entrekin said it is believed the Kelleys piled tires and wood onto the men's remains and started the fire Saturday night.

“They stood around it like a campfire and kept it going throughout the night,” he said. “They (men) were burned to nothing.”

Entrekin said it is not unusual for people to have a bonfire in the rural setting.

“What they were doing was unusual,” he said. “While cremation is acceptable in a mortuary, it is not acceptable in a wooded field.”

Etowah County Coroner Michael Gladden said the condition of the bones is similar to bones after someone is cremated. A fire's temperature must reach about 1,400 degrees for cremation, Gladden said.

It is believed the remaining pieces of bone were strewn across the field after the fire, which accounted for the need to search in such a widespread area, Harp said.

There has been a lot of evidence gathered and a lot of statements from others, Harp said.

“We have first-hand accounts of some of what occurred,” he said. “That information substantially bolstered our case.”

Harp said officials have some suspicions about motive, but it is too early to discuss them.

He said Kelley is charged with capital murder in that two or more people were killed in the commission of the same crime. A capital murder conviction could result in life without parole or the death penalty, he said.

“We're too early in this to determine if we will seek the death penalty,” Harp said.

Investigators with the sheriff's office, Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences and the state fire marshal's office have searched most of the week, recovering small pieces of remains believed to be those of the men.

Entrekin said investigators have worked hard to gather information and evidence, but the fire marshal's office and Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences have especially been a big factor in this investigation.

“They are out there, doing a lot of work that nobody ever sees,” he said. “These folks are the ones that make these types of cases. They've been on their hands and knees, digging in the dirt.”

Entrekin said one of the most shocking factors in the investigation is the lengths allegedly gone to in an effort to destroy the evidence by burning the bodies.

“They watched as these two people burned,” he said. “This was two people they interacted with ... it's just unusually cold.”

DNA testing will be necessary to positively confirm the identities of the men, but investigators are almost certain the remains are those of Morgan and Bachelor, based on statements and evidence, Entrekin said.

Bachelor is a convicted sex offender, but that is not related to the deaths, Entrekin said. When the men first were reported missing, that information was released because it was known that Bachelor was missing and he was not where he was registered to live.

Harp said other charges are possible, but only the Kelleys are believed to be involved.

“We have a sense of ease there is not anyone else out there running around that (is) involved,” he said. “We have the persons responsible for this crime.”

There still is much evidence to gathered and the investigation will continue.

“There has been too much speculation,” Harp said. “We felt the people in that community needed to know we have resolved this.”

A $100,000 cash bond has been set for Margie Kelley and her husband remains in jail with no bond.

Harp said anyone who has any information or might have seen something suspicious in early December during the time the crime is believed to have occurred is encouraged to contact the sheriff's office at 546-2825.

Remains found in '07 identified

JEREMY PAWLOSKI; The Olympian
Published: 12/18/09 12:00 am | Updated: 12/18/09 6:56 am

A human skull and other remains found in March 2007 on a logging trail in the Cedar Flats area off of Delphi Road have been identified as belonging to an Alzheimer's patient who disappeared in May 2003.

DNA analysis has positively identified the skull and bones as belonging to Harold Lewin, 45, who was last seen by his father on May 4, 2003. Lewin had lived alone in a cottage in the 6900 block of Pacific Avenue Southeast, east of Lacey.

Thurston County Coroner Gary Warnock said Thursday that the cause and manner of Lewin’s death are undetermined.

In a 2003 interview after Lewin’s disappearance, his brother Rick said Lewin had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s about five years earlier and had become increasingly forgetful. Lewin was receiving treatment at area hospitals, his brother said.

Rick Lewin also said his missing brother had four children and five grandchildren and that it would be unlike him to vanish.

Lewin’s skull was found in late March 2007 by a man who lives off Canning Court and was looking for his dog on a logging path several hundred yards from his home. The skull was found partially covered in moss and was missing a lower jaw. In the following days, cadaver dogs located other bones and clothes scattered around the area where the skull was found, said Thurston County Sheriff’s Lt. Chris Mealy.

Warnock said DNA analysis identified the skull as Lewin’s several months ago.

Investigators simply don’t have enough information to say whether foul play factored into Lewin’s death, or if he just wandered off and died accidentally, Mealy said. “We’re keeping all of our options open,” Mealy said.

Lewin’s funeral is scheduled for Monday in Elma, a family member said.

Rick Lewin also said in 2003 that his brother was a former Navy cryptographic technician and once worked in a lumber mill.

Jeremy Pawloski: 360-754-5465

jpawloski@theolympian.com.

Frankfurt police say missing American likely fell in Main River

Frankfurt police said on Friday they believe a 22-year-old American man who went missing last month probably fell into the Main River in an alcohol-related accident.

“As of now the missing persons department assumes that Devon Hollahan fell into the Main River in a helpless alcohol-related state,” the police said in a statement. “There are no indications indicating suicide or a crime.”

Devon Hollahan disappeared around 3 am on November 21 from the city’s central Taunusalange metro station after attending a concert with his friend Josh Friedman. The two had travelled from Prague, where Hollahan worked as an English teacher, to attend a Portugal The Man concert and joined the band for a party afterwards.

Near the station, Friedman turned away from Hollahan to ask directions to the “Frankfurt Hostel,” at which point he told police that his friend disappeared.

Friedman went to the hostel alone and reported Hollahan missing the following day after he didn’t turn up or return phone calls.

In the weeks that followed, the only trace police found of the young man was his backpack, which still contained his personal belongings.

The man’s father, Morgan Stanley financial advisor Jeff Hollahan, launched an international media campaign to find his son, appearing on US news shows and travelling to Frankfurt from his home in Scottsdale, Arizona to aid in the search.

But Friday’s statement from police revealed new details of their search that point to an alcohol related accident.

Witnesses called an ambulance around 4 am, not long after Hollahan went missing, to report a helpless man laying on the pavement on Eschenheimer Straße.

“The helpless person was without a doubt the missing person, who was lying on the sidewalk and was barely articulate,” the statement said.

When the passersby told the man in English that an ambulance was on the way, he jumped up and disappeared, they said.

His rucksack was discovered shortly thereafter by a security worker near Schillerstraße.

The police report said that authorities have searched nearby parks, bodies of water, and metro tunnels, in addition to working with Czech and US authorities to piece together background information on Hollahan.

Police also appealed to the German public for details of Hollahan’s disappearance on the unsolved crime show Aktenzeichen XY...ungelöst to no avail.

But search dogs followed his scent right to the edge of the Main River, where it “abruptly ended,” the statement said.

Meanwhile a shoe believed to belong to Hollahan was found in a trash container at the Griesheim sluice gate down river, they said.

“Due to this evidence, it is believed likely that Devon Hollahan fell into the Main,” the statement said, adding that investigators would continue to search for the young man.

Body is likely Debra Houser’s

Holly Abrams
The Journal Gazette

Whitley County officials believe they have found Debra Houser’s body nearly a month after her disappearance.

Acting on a tip they received Monday, three deputies and the Whitley County coroner searched a creek that crosses County Road 200 South on Tuesday morning.

Just after 9 a.m., they found what they believed to be Houser’s body in about 2 feet of water, just two miles south of her rural Columbia City home. Final identification is expected during an autopsy today, Sheriff Mark Hodges said.

The discovery came after law enforcement officials from several regional departments spent weeks searching for Houser, 49. They searched by foot, boat, helicopter and ATV and used cadaver-sniffing dogs. Firefighters and local residents also volunteered.

“Having found the body should aid in further prosecution,” Hodges said.

He declined to comment on the body’s condition or whether there were visible injuries. The area where the body was found, between County Road 575 West and County Road 625 West, had been searched previously, Hodges said.

Hodges declined to say who the tipster was, only that it was a person who walked into the sheriff’s department with information on the case. Hodges said the person is not a suspect in Houser’s death, nor the same one who told officials Nov. 18 that Houser was missing.

Houser’s ex-husband, Rodney Houser, 43, is the only person arrested in Debra Houser’s death. He is charged with murder and is being held without bail at the Whitley County Jail.

According to court documents, Rodney Houser asked a friend to help hide the body of his ex-wife, whom he killed after the couple argued Nov. 17.

Tuesday’s discovery brought some relief to Houser’s family, said her younger sister, Kathy Nicholson.

“It’s finally some closure,” she said. “Just when you thought all tips and leads were gone, here comes this one that pans out.”

Houser’s family previously said Debra and Rodney Houser had been living together “on and off” for five years after their divorce. They were married about three years. Debra Houser has two grown children.

“She’s gone. We can’t do anything to change it,” Nicholson said. “We are accepting it. … We just have to go forward from there.”

habrams@jg.net

COLUMN: Straight From the Hog’s Eye — Bratschi case demands justice

Randy Bratschi went missing not long after I went to work at the Morning News. It was fall 2004, and I wasn’t even a reporter at the time; I was working on the copy desk. Less than a year later, however, I began covering the public safety beat in Florence, and Bratschi’s story became one that I followed closely.

Investigators were looking everywhere for Bratschi. I particularly remember covering one major dig at the spot in New Hope where cadaver dogs had led sheriff’s deputies.

Unfortunately, the results continued to be the same: The search turned up nothing.

Another time, we heard a report that someone out driving their truck through the mud had discovered some bones underneath a bridge at the Great Pee Dee River. That location was near Smurfit-Stone Container, where Bratschi was last seen as he left work one morning. The bones, however, turned out to be those of an animal.

It was disheartening for me, because I was hoping for a break in the case, and I know it was unimaginably sad for Bratschi’s family, who sincerely wanted closure.

I know the sheriff’s office worked extremely hard on this case, but at times I worried that no search, no matter how intense, would ever lead to a resolution of Bratschi’s disappearance.

I met some of his family members once, during a press conference held in November a few years ago at the Florence County Sheriff’s Office. Bratschi disappeared in late November, so Thanksgiving was a particularly difficult time for the family. They announced they were hiring a forensic psychic to help find Bratschi and said they just wanted to give him a proper Christian burial.

In the end, however, the sheriff’s office received its big break in the case from two men who during this past summer were moving a trailer from Bratschi’s former property.

Under the trailer were remains that, after a long period of analysis at the University of North Texas, were determined to be those of Bratschi.

Not long after we learned the results of a mitochondrial DNA analysis, which identified the remains, investigators announced they’d made an arrest — Bratschi’s wife was charged with murder.

Later that day, they also arrested Bratschi’s stepson and charged him with misprision of a felony. Florence County Sheriff’s Lt. Jason Dore said he thinks the stepson knew about Bratschi’s slaying, but didn’t report it.

It should go without saying, but I’ll make it abundantly clear that I’m a firm believer that everyone is innocent until proven guilty. All I want is for justice to be served in this case, regardless of what outcome is necessary for that to happen. The family has received some closure, but they deserve to have their minds at peace as much as humanly possible.

Man convicted of armed robbery

Aformer Hazlet Township resident was found guilty on Dec. 9 in the 2008 armed robbery of a liquor store.

A Monmouth County jury found Daniel Levins, 45, guilty of first-degree armed robbery, third-degree aggravated assault, thirddegree possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose, fourth-degree unlawful possession of a weapon, and fourth- degree criminal mischief, according to the Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office. The charges pertain to an incident at the Spirits Unlimited liquor store in Hazlet in 2008.

According to a press release from the Prosecutor's Office, evidence presented during the two-week trial revealed that at approximately 10 a.m. on Feb. 11, 2008, the Hazlet Police Department responded to the Spirits Unlimited liquor store on Route 35 for a report of an armed robbery. Upon arrival, police discovered that an employee was injured, and that the store was in disarray.

An investigation revealed that a man wearing a ski mask and sunglasses entered the liquor store and began waving a baseball bat. The masked man threatened the store clerk, demanding that the clerk open the register. The robber then smashed the cash register as well as several bottles located on the store's countertop with the baseball bat before striking the clerk with the bat. The victim fought the attacker and during the struggle, the robber's mask became dislodged, revealing the robber's face.

The victim disarmed his attacker and took control of the baseball bat. The victim then struck the robber on the head with the bat, following which the robber fled from the store.

The victim advised the responding officers that when the robber was unmasked, he was able to recognize the robber as one of the store's former customers. Based on the information provided by the store clerk, police identified Levins as a suspect, the release states. A trained K-9 from the Tinton Falls Police Department tracked a scent from the suspect's mask, which was recovered inside the store, to Levins' trailer in the Brookside Mobile Estates, located directly behind the liquor store. Inside the trailer, police apprehended Levins, who had attempted suicide immediately after the robbery by cutting his wrists and turning on the trailer's gas stove and oven, according to the release.

At trial, Levins testified that he was not guilty of the crimes charged in the indictment because his intent was not to steal money from the store but rather to have the store clerk shoot him in order to fulfill his wish to die. The jury rejected the defense and returned a guilty verdict on all charges, the release states.

State Superior Court Judge Jamie S. Perri is scheduled to sentence Levins on Jan. 28 in Freehold. Prior to the verdict, Levins was free on $100,000 bail and was living in Eldridge, N.Y. Following the verdict, Perri increased Levins' bail to $200,000. On Dec. 10 , Levins posted bail and was released from the Monmouth County Correctional Institution.

Levins faces a maximum potential custodial sentence of a state prison term of up to 20 years. Pursuant to the No Early Release Act, Levins will have to serve 85 percent of the sentence imposed for the crime of armed robbery before he becomes eligible for parole.

Canton canine tracks down armed robbery suspect

By Candace Hall
Tue Dec 15, 2009, 08:49 PM EST

Canton - Canton’s new police dog helped to nab an armed robbery suspect in Dedham last week, leading police to the house the suspect had fled to, as well as the weapon that allegedly was used during the crime.

Police later arrested the suspect.

On Dec. 8, Canton Police got a call from Dedham Police Department, asking for assistance from “Bosco,” a 22-month-old Dutch German Shepherd, and his handler, Canton Police officer Scott Brown. A convenience store on High Street had just been robbed, and police needed assistance in tracking the suspect, who had fled.

When the team arrived, Brown was told a man had robbed the store, threatening the store clerk with the knife, and had fled down High Street. The clerk had tried to follow the man, but lost sight of him.

Dedham Police had apprehended a suspect, but weren’t sure if he was the right man. That’s when Bosco went to work.

The dog was led to the area from which the man had fled and picked up his scent. He led Brown about one-quarter of a mile down High Street and then took a right to a driveway. From there, he went across the backyard of a house, over a fence, to another house, and went to the side door.

“At that point, we had a good indication that the man had fled there,” Brown said.

Bosco then went under the deck and laid down, which is a sign that he had found something. The dog crawled under the deck, and found a knife that had been buried under debris – the same knife that allegedly had been used during the robbery.

“He did a great job,” Brown said. “This confirmed that this was the location. He got the knife under the deck, and this provided evidence.”

Bosco arrived at the Canton Police Department about a year ago after Brown picked him up from West Virginia. He came from Europe, and was bred for law enforcement.

Brown has worked constantly with the dog since he came to the department. The dog lives with Brown, his wife and three children in their Canton home.

“He’s terrific,” Brown said. “He sleeps three feet from the kids.”

The Canton Police Department had a police dog about 25 years ago, but did not get another one until Bosco arrived. Though Police Chief Kenneth Berkowitz had wanted one since becoming police chief, the department could not get one because of the cost. The dog, which cost $6,000, needs its own police cruiser as well as training.

The department finally was able to get Bosco after receiving a sizeable donation from the Dadasis Family Foundation in the summer of 2008.

The dog now is trained in search and apprehension and search and rescue, and may be trained to detect narcotics in the future. For now, police are pleased with the dog’s performance, and confident that he’ll continue to a great asset to local police departments as well as the community.

“I’m sure this will not be the only bone in Bosco’s career. But it was a good find that led to an arrest,” Berkowitz said.

Search for Charleston Man Appears to be Recovery Mission

Story by Jessika Lewis

GLENVILLE -- The Gilmer County Sheriff’s Department is continuing its search for a missing Charleston man, but the search may have turned into a rescue mission.

“With no contact from this individual, we believe we are more into a recovery than a search and rescue,” stated Sheriff Mickey Metz.

Monday, a helicopter will once again search the area for Basil Fredrick Hill, 29, while crews comb the Little Kanawha River using cadaver dogs, according to Metz.

State Police provided a helicopter for the search on Saturday, said Metz.

The crews will search from behind Trezan’s restaurant to the Calhoun County line, Metz stated.

Hill was removed from the business at about 12:30 a. m. on Friday, Dec. 11, Metz said, and is believed to have left alone.

Three people ran into Hill coming down the hill near the courthouse, and Hill was in front of the courthouse at about 1 a.m., stated Metz.

Investigators brought dogs to the area around the courthouse where the trio saw Hill to try to pick up his scent, but Metz noted that the cold weather and rain made it difficult for them to do so.

Metz contacted the State Police to ask for the search and rescue team, but was told that they would not be activated.

Troopers helped out on Saturday and provided the helicopter used in the search, but without further evidence, Capt. Steven Dawson, with the Elkins detachment, says there is no need to deploy the search and rescue team.

Metz asks that anyone with information on this matter contact the Gilmer County Sheriff’s Department 304-462-7441.

Copyright 2009 West Virginia Media. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Alcohol a factor in recent drownings, coroner says

By MELISSA TOPEY Monday, December 14, 2009 12:18 AM EST

Two recent deaths in Sandusky Bay show water and alcohol do not mix.

Final autopsy results in the deaths of Dwayne Merva and Thomas M. McNerney show both men drowned in the chilly waters of the lake with acute alcohol intoxication as a factor, according to Erie County coroner Dr. Brian Baxter.

Results indicate Merva had a blood-alcohol level of .16 percent, and McNerney's was .17 percent.

Those levels may not reflect the actual amount of alcohol in the system at the time each man fell into the water because decomposition produces some ethanol, Baxter said.

Sandusky firefighters recovered the bodies of both men.

Sandusky fire chief Mike Meinzer, a firefighter for more than 30 years, said alcohol is a factor in the majority of the water-related rescues his department handles.

"They let their guard down and take risks they wouldn't normally do," Meinzer said.

In a two-year period through Dec. 1, 2009, his department responded to 36 water-related incidents. In three of those, firefighters pulled a body from the water.

He said there are more alcohol-related incidents in the summer because more people are on the water. During the late fall, it is mostly hunters, especially duck hunters who are out in their boats and prone to falling in.

Rescue workers recovered Merva's body from the docks of the Venetian Marina on Oct. 26 after co-workers spotted him floating. Merva was last seen Oct. 10 at area taverns, where friends say he had a couple drinks.

Divers from the Sandusky fire department searched the water four times, and cadaver dogs came to their aid.

McNerney was found in the waters by D dock at the Sandusky Harbor Marina on Nov. 13, the day he apparently fell in. McNerney was from Hudson, Ohio, but spent time in Sandusky on his boat. His boat was being winterized at the Sandusky Harbor.

After falling in, McNerney apparently tried to climb out but hypothermia set in, making it difficult for him to grasp the dock.

The third death on the water occurred in June 2008, involving a boat wreck between Lyman Harbor and the Venetian Marina. The collision of a 21-foot Sea Ray and a 41-foot Formula boat killed Ben Miller and injured several others.

Autopsy reports showed Miller had a blood alcohol level of .11 percent, but that reading could also have been affected by decomposition.

"It's just as important in boating to have a designated driver," Meinzer said. "Designate a sober person no matter what you're doing."

Sunglasses possibly belonging to missing New York teen found in Georgetown County

A couple boating along the Santee River in Georgetown County found a pair of sunglasses possibly belonging to missing New York teen Brittanee Drexel.

Monica Caison, with the CUE Center for Missing Persons says the couple found the glasses when they were looking for wood.

Caison said the Cue Center along with law enforcement from Myrtle Beach, Georgetown County Charleston County, S.L.E.D’s Dive team, Horry County’s Dive team, Cadaver dogs and helicopters were searching for Brittanee or any breaks in the missing teen’s case all week long.

Drexel went missing from Myrtle Beach in April while on Spring Break with her friends from Rochester, NY.

Drexel was 17 when she went missing,

Myrtle Beach police say they’ve received hundreds of tips since Drexel disappeared from the Blue Water Resort in Myrtle Beach.

None of those tips have led to Drexel.

The CUE Center says it plans to continue searching for Drexel.

Scent the wrong way

[December 14, 2009]
The undoubted ability of dogs to discriminate between different human scents has assisted many law enforcement officers to locate and apprehend criminals. In many of the subsequent court cases, sufficient evidence is often accumulated that the role of the dogs is not produced as evidence and is not a critical factor. Which is just as well, because the use of canine evidence linking an individual to a particular location is still controversial.

Just like the delays during the recent introduction of DNA evidence in courts, the rules for human scent identification line-ups, as they are called, have not been established. In the USA, human scent evidence has been challenged from various directions, including the uniqueness of the scent and its stability beyond collection.

This led to a Californian court ruling that such evidence is only admissible in court if "the person performing the technique used the correct scientific procedures, the training and experience of the dog and dog handler prove them to be proficient, and the methods used by the dog handler in the case are reliable."

Currently, there are no universal rules governing the collection and storage of human scent. The potential variables include the method of collection, the type of storage container, the storage temperature and the effects of aging on the scent composition. All of these might modify the volatile compounds that are present in the scent of an individual, or introduce new ones as a result of the conditions, hampering the subsequent association of a modified scent to a suspect's scent to the satisfaction of the courts.

As a first step, a triumvirate of scientists in the USA have investigated the effects of storage conditions on the composition of human scent. Kenneth Furton, Davia Hudson and Allison Curran from the International Forensic Research Institute at Florida International University worked with scent from several volunteers.

In the first instance, the effects of the storage containers were evaluated in the absence of scent samples, to see if they were inert or released volatile compounds during storage. Blank gauze was cleaned by supercritical fluid extraction and heat sealed in a variety of containers for up to five weeks before removal and analysis by SPME-GC/MS.

For all containers studied, volatile compounds were transferred from the container to the gauze. The worst performers were heavy duty Kapak pouches and aluminised Kapak pouches which emitted 107 and 88 volatiles, respectively, over five weeks. From a forensic viewpoint, the most disappointing aspect was that some of these compounds were known human scent compounds, such as aldehydes, alkanes and methyl esters. The researchers speculated that the heat sealing process might be the source of many of these volatiles but did not go further to prove it at this stage.

The best results were obtained with a glass vial, which released an average of five compounds over five weeks, only one of which (nonane) was a known human scent component. So, the subsequent tests were conducted with these glass vials.

Scent was self-collected by six volunteers over five days, giving 20 samples per person. They were taken from the palms and forearms using two brands of gauze pads or one brand of sorbent cotton and stored for up to seven weeks in glass vials at room temperature.

Using 3D covariance mapping to compare the GC/MS results, a Dukal brand gauze provided the least variation in scent composition over the seven weeks. The other branded gauze material was the worst performer and the differences were attributed to the different chemistries of the fibre sorbents. For storage at -80°C, the 100% cotton sorbent gave the most variation in composition over time.

When sorbents were stored in glass vials under a UVA/UVB light source, methyl esters, aldehydes and alkanes were detected within three weeks. The new compounds varied from sorbent to sorbent, so would affect the overall scent profile in different ways. However, the team did note that the ratios of the monitored primary odour compounds remained consistent over the test period.

The results were consistent with published work showing that dogs could match odours collected on the same day but their performances deteriorated when they were attempting to match the odours of stored objects to a subject.

The study has shown that human scents should be stored in glass vials without UVA/UVB exposure to minimise changes in composition but further work is required to develop and validate a procedure that will stand up to the closest of scrutiny in a court of law.

Related links:

Police say husband "Person of Interest"

WEST VALLEY CITY, Utah (ABC 4 News) – Police say they found no evidence at a campsite as they continue to search for a missing mom.

Susan Powell disappeared from her home Sunday night and hasn’t been seen.

Police now say that her husband Josh Powell is a person of interest and plan to interview him for a third time Friday.

Investigators focused their search Thursday at the Pony Express Trail near Simpson Springs in Tooele County.

“We were looking for evidence that someone went in there and went camping, that’s what we were looking for," said WVC police Captain Tom McLachlan.

Josh Powell told police that he took his two boys, ages 4 and 2, camping late Sunday night. He told police that his wife was sleeping at the home when they left.

According to friends, Powell claims to have left around 12:30 a.m. Monday morning.

Captain McLachlan said they didn’t find any evidence of anyone being at the campsite.

“With the snowstorm everything was pretty well covered over,” he said. “You can’t tell any tire tracks or anything else.”

Captain McLachlan said investigators took cadaver dogs but they could not pick up any scent.

He said that Powell is not considered a suspect at this stage of the investigation.

“We do hope and intent to re-interview him again,” Cpt. McLachlan said.

The police captain did confirm that a Powell’s purse, credit cards and cell phone were among the items taken when they searched the home earlier this week.

And when asked if those are common items left behind by someone who decided to leave he answered this way: “My answer to that is one would usually think those items would be taken but in and of itself does not show a crime,” he said. “This is still a missing person case and our first concern is Susan and locating her, making sure she’s all right.

When asked if she was murdered he said “Like I said, there are many possible solutions to this situation and that’s as far as I’m going to go.”

Meanwhile Powell’s father who lives in a suburb of Seattle spoke with the local ABC affiliate KOMO 4. Chuck Cox offered more details about what police found inside the home.

“They found a wet spot on the floor being dried by two fans,” Cox said. He spoke with Josh Powell Tuesday and said that he offered little insight as to where Susan was.

“I don’t think she’s okay,” he said. “No one has heard from her. Josh and the kids are back and she would not leave her children and she would not leave her purse.

Cox told friends of Susan that he and his wife are headed to Salt Lake City Friday.

A facebook www.facebook.com/topic.php?uid=198478842187&topic=15637#/group.php?v=wall&gid=198478842187 comprised of friends of Susan Powell indicated that a massive search by volunteers is gaining momentum.

Hunters still missing in Baldwin County

John Rogers
Blanton Box
Photojournalist: Guy Turnbow

BALDWIN COUNTY, Ala. - Day five in the search for two hunters who went missing Sunday night in the Tensaw River turned up nothing. At this point, rescue personnel have only found the canoe and a paddle. But they've found no evidence the men are dead, so the search continues.

A search and rescue official said ten boats and nearly 40 people are still helping in the search for Alan Clemons and Jason Brown.

FOX10 News was at the river and caught up with one man who has lived through this very ordeal before.

Over the last few days, Leander Foster has been reliving the past. Ten years ago, one of Foster's relatives also vanished while hunting.

"We searched about a month straight looking for him. It was about three months before we found him," Foster said.

But when they found his relative, Roland Garrett, it was not what they had hoped for.

"He was found after a beaver dam was drained. He was deteriorated a lot. He was unrecognizable but they were able to determine that was him," he said.

Crews hope that won't be the case for the men they're looking for.

"With every passing day, it gets a little bit harder but we're not giving up hope," said Matt Burton with North Baldwin Sheriff's Search and Rescue.

As the strong, cold breeze blows through, boats embark fully loaded. Sonar equipment is used to scan the water, and dogs are taken along to see if they can pick up a scent. Search teams are combing over 30 miles of river banks, looking for any clues in the search of the two men.

For now, the search carries on, just as it did ten years ago for Foster.

"It worries you until you have closure," Foster says.

But Foster has his closure, and hopefully, the family of these hunters can have theirs too.

The official says miracles have happened before, so they're going to keep looking.

New lead in missing child case in Wash.

Published: Dec. 10, 2009 at 4:18 PM

ISSAQUAH, Wash., Dec. 10 (UPI) -- Authorities in King County, Wash., said they have identified a person of interest in the disappearance of an area boy 41 years ago.

King County Sheriff's Detective Scott Tompkins said he considers a man who lived near David Adams' family as a person of interest in the 8-year-old boy's disappearance near Issaquah, Wash., on May 3, 1968, KOMO-TV, Seattle, reported Wednesday.

Tompkins said the Lewis County man, whose identity was not reported, was 20 at the time of the boy's disappearance. The detective said he uncovered evidence to support his theory after getting a subpoena for the man's phone records.

"There is evidence in our investigation that our person of interest is trying to steer potential witnesses away from the police," said Tompkins, who began looking into the cold case this year. "That's why we served the search warrant, to contact more people within that inner circle."

Police reports indicate the unidentified man was in the area when Adams disappeared and tracking dogs followed a scent to the man's home during the search for the missing boy, KOMO reported.

Police recover body from Rouge River in Livonia

Livonia police recovered a man's body Tuesday afternoon in the Upper Rouge River just south of Eight Mile and west of Inkster Road.

The body of Matthew Plaskov, 32, of Livonia was found near where Plaskov's home was located, according to Sgt. Jim Siterlet.

Siterlet believes Plaskov may have fallen in while trying to walk on fallen trees near the river. He had a dog leash with him so he may have been walking around the park area looking for his missing dog.

“There were no signs of foul play,” Siterlet said.

Plaskov's wife filed a missing person's report Tuesday morning. His car was still at the home. Siterlet checked the home and the area adjacent to the house near Botsford Park.

After a search dog located the body in the river, the police called for firefighters from the Livonia Fire Department's water rescue team to pull the body from the water, Siterlet said.

An autopsy is scheduled for today.

Homeowners recovering, son feared dead in West Knoxville blast

Stephen Krzeski awoke shortly after 3 a.m. Wednesday to the smell of natural gas, an odor that could have been coming from a gas fireplace that had been leaking for weeks.

A food-company executive with a wife, two children and a million-dollar home in a West Knox County subdivision, Krzeski got up to investigate.

Then the world around him blew apart.

He grabbed his wife as she flew past. They landed in the backyard amid debris from the house. They suffered broken bones but still breathed the damp December air.

Flames consumed what was left of their house.

Authorities say it was an apparent gas explosion that tore open the two-story house at 9140 Grey Pointe Drive in the Whittington Creek subdivision at 3:13 a.m. The blast damaged nearby houses and shook neighbors awake. Windows and nerves were shattered.

The Krzeskis were taken to the University of Tennessee Medical Center. Their son, 18-year-old Nicholas “Nick” Krzeski, couldn’t be found. Rescue workers found a body, as yet unidentified, beneath the charred rubble.

Brenda Stephenson, a next-door neighbor who relayed the Krzeskis’ account of the explosion after visiting them at the hospital, said Sue Krzeski sustained a broken pelvis and a broken vertebra from the blast. She was listed in stable condition.

Stephenson said Stephen Krzeski sustained nine broken ribs and is listed in serious condition.

According to Stephenson, the Krzeskis told her their 20-year-old daughter, Shannon, and a friend were supposed to have spent the night but opted at the last minute to return to their University of Tennessee dormitory.

The blast rocked the subdivision — it blew out four windows in Joe Bryant’s house on Hailes Abbey, flung open cabinet doors at Jean Farina’s house 200 yards away, hurled the Krzeskis’ front door across the street into Larry Elmore’s garage door and seemed to lift the Stephensons’ house off its foundation.

Ed King said he thought he had been shaken by an earthquake. Dinar Sayani thought a tornado roared through the neighborhood.

Neighbors rushing to the scene saw flames leaping 40 feet in the air.

Stephen Krzeski told the Stephensons that he clutched his wife as she flew past in the instant after the explosion. He’s a big man, somewhere around 6-foot-8, and told his neighbors he thought he hurt her because he grabbed her so tightly.

“He said he was on her like hash browns on waffles at the Waffle House,” Brenda Stephenson said.

Awakened by the noise and concussion, the Stephensons grabbed their 20-month-old granddaughter, who spent the night with them, and their 13-year-old daughter and headed out the front door.

“It didn’t burn to the ground — it blew up, and what was blown up burned,” Steve Stephenson said.

Brenda Stephenson thought her neighbors were dead, saying, “When I walked outside, I didn’t think there was a ray of hope they lived through that.”

Steve Stephenson said the Krzeskis landed in the backyard, then a wall toppled over on top of them.

Bryant saw the flames, ran through his backyard, and hopped a wrought-iron fence into the Krzeskis’ yard. Others were arriving as well. He saw Sue Krzeski, who had managed to climb atop a pile of debris.

“We scrambled on top of the rubble to help her down,” Bryant said. “She’s barefoot, and it’s rock and brick. We kind of carried her down and got her to her backyard a safe distance away.”

Farina brought blankets to the injured couple.

“They didn’t seem to be burned; they were more in shock,” Farina said. “I don’t know how they survived.”

Bryant and two others climbed back on the pile of rubble and “there her husband was. We were like, ‘Good gracious, where did he come from?’ ”

After the neighbors wrapped the couple in blankets, they asked if there was anyone else in the house.

“(Sue Krzeski) said, ‘Yes, Nick,’ and that he had been in the basement. I ran back up to the rubble, to the edge of the fire and was just screaming his name. I couldn’t see or hear anything. I’m hoping he wasn’t in there.

“She kept asking, ‘Where’s Nick, where’s Nick?’ ”

Rescue workers arrived at the scene. Rural/Metro firefighters battled the flames into submission, while ambulances whisked the Krzeskis to UT Medical Center.

The Krzeskis’ two dogs also were caught in the blast. A Great Dane named Genius apparently was thrown from the house and was taken to the UT College of Veterinary Medicine, where spokeswoman Sandra Harbison said she was in critical condition. A Samoyed mix named Barkely died.

Morning illuminated the devastation. Where the Krzeskis’ house once stood was little more than a pile of brick and charred wood, the epicenter of a debris field that extended about 60 yards in all directions.

Rescue workers, including Rural/Metro firefighters and members of the Knoxville Volunteer Emergency Rescue Squad, began looking for Nick Krzeski. His parents told the Stephensons he had been asleep in the basement.

They picked through the still-smoking rubble by hand and with a backhoe. A box spring poked up from the mess, its fabric cover burned away. Two burned-out cars remained parked where the garage had been. Eight search-and-rescue dogs were brought to the scene.

The search was delayed at times when workers encountered hot spots. They spotted a body deep in the debris about 1 p.m. Authorities believe they found Nick Krzeski, though Rural/Metro Battalion Chief Jeff Devlin said positive identification is pending.

“In this situation, what commonly happens is a pancake collapse,” Devlin said. “I’m not sure exactly how he passed on, but we’re pretty positive that it was pretty quick.”

Rescue workers continued removing rubble and several hours later extracted the body. Rural/Metro spokesman Larry Wilder said the body was taken to the UT Forensic Anthropology Center to be identified. Arson investigators will return this morning.

Rural/Metro Fire Capt. Brian Chesney said the explosion apparently was caused by natural gas, though the cause is still under investigation.

The neighborhood was not evacuated, but at least three other houses sustained damage. Gas lines to the subdivision were cut off, affecting about 50 residents, according to KUB spokeswoman Grace Whiteside.

KUB began restoring service about 5 p.m.

KUB spokeswoman Leslye Hartsell said the utility records all phone calls for service and that none came from the residence or from neighbors.

“We did not receive any reports of gas leaks, reports of gas smells or any other calls of that nature,” Hartsell said.

Hartsell said KUB is responsible for the gas line until it reaches a customer’s meter. The customer is responsible for interior upkeep and appliances, she said. Hartsell said customers do not have to notify KUB of interior maintenance work unless the work would require all gas service to be turned off.

According to the Stephensons, the Krzeskis had expressed concerns for weeks about a leaking gas fireplace in their home.

“They just had their fireplace serviced this week because they could smell gas,” Steve Stephenson said.

The Krzeskis are from Michigan and lived in California before moving to East Tennessee, the Stephensons said. Property records show they bought their house in November 2008 for $1.05 million.

Both are 47, and he is a vice president and supply chain director for Bush Brothers & Co.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with Steve and the Krzeski family at this time. Our Bush Brothers community is shocked and saddened by this tragic event,” Bush Brothers & Co. spokeswoman Kara Ethier said in a statement.

Brenda Stephenson described the Krzeskis as “very kind and sweet people.” Stephen Krzeski and Steve Stephenson are golfing buddies.

Shannon Krzeski is a sophomore at UT, while Nick Krzeski was on track to graduate from Knox County Adult High School this year.

Carol Russell, principal of Knox County Adult High School, described Nick Krzeski as “a good kid … always very gentlemanly. Just polite, respectful … never belligerent or defiant.”

One of the onlookers at the scene during the day was Jasmine Kahn, a senior at Farragut High School, who said she’d been dating Nick for five or six months. She last talked to him at 12:48 a.m. Wednesday. Kahn said he was big like his father — 6-foot-9 — with a heart to match.

“He is one of the best guys I’ve ever met,” she said. “There’s not a person who doesn’t love him.”