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Saturday, April 30, 2011

A&E Presents The New Real Life Series ‘The First 48: Missing Persons’

A&E Network Presents The New Real Life Series ‘The First 48: Missing Persons’ Premiering June 2

NEW YORK, NY, APRIL 29, 2011 When a person goes missing, every second counts. A&E’s new real life series “The First 48: Missing Persons,” a spinoff from one of the most-watched nonfiction investigative series on cable, “The First 48,” follows the Chicago Police Department’s missing persons unit in The First 48 hours of their search for missing loved ones. ‘The First 48: Missing Persons’ premieres Thursday, June 2 at 10PM ET/PT on A&E.
Based in the heart of one of the country’s most colorful law-enforcement cities, the Chicago Police missing persons unit gets more than 17,000 calls each year and is the one of the only major police departments in the country that responds to every missing persons call immediately. For the first time ever, the Chicago Police Department gives unrestricted access to ongoing investigations and allows cameras to follow the elite, passionate and dedicated investigators who handle all missing persons and child abduction cases.
Each hour- long episode of “The First 48: Missing Persons” follows the specialized investigation of one or two high-stakes cases, from the moment the call comes in, as detectives search for the husbands, wives, sons and daughters who have disappeared. Just like a homicide on the original series “The First 48”, if they don’t find the missing person in The First 48 hours, their chances of finding them alive are cut in half.
In the premiere episode, Detectives Selles Morris, Laura Skrip and Jim Corcoran team up to search for a straight A college student. They uncover surveillance footage that shows the 19 year-old sophomore walking toward the lakefront, then disappearing. Their around-the-clock search comes to a shocking conclusion and just when they think they’re finished, Detectives Morris and Skrip have to pull double duty. Morris hunts down a father who vanished mysteriously, putting his own family in danger and Skrip has just minutes to save the life of a distraught missing woman who left a note threatening to end her life.
The First 48: Missing Persons” is produced by Found Films, LLC for A&E Network. The executive producers for Found Films, LLC are Robert Schneiger, Gary Sherman and Conrad Riggs. The executive producers for A&E Network are Robert Sharenow and Laura Fleury.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Police Arrest Parolee Living With Corpse

Santa Cruz Police Investigating Man Who Lived With Corpse

Neighbors reported a bad smell and police arrested a 63-year-old man on a parole violation
Santa Cruz Police arrested I. John Clauer, 63, of the 1100 block of East Cliff Drive Tuesday after they were called to his apartment to investigate a bad smell.
Officers found the decomposing body of a 30-year-old woman at the home with Clauer. The body, they said, had been decomposing for several days.
The cause of death is under investigation and so is the fact that Clauer didn't report the death to police. Clauer, who is on parole for selling marijuana to a juvenile under 14, was booked into Santa Cruz County Jail.
"This is the weirdest case I've seen," said Deputy Chief Steve Clark. "And I've been here 25 years."
Clark said police are investigating the death as a homicide and would release the name of the victim after her next of kin has been notified. Clark said she had a criminal record, as did Clauer. However, he said, if the medical examiner comes back with a report that indicates a natural death, they will approach it with other charges, such as failure to report the death to police.
Clauer has a history of convictions for drug possession, burglary and drug sales, Clark said.  Clauer talked to police while waiting for his attorney, and while officers couldn't ask him questions, they got what they said were conflicting accounts of the death.
"He is either the suspect in a homicide or his behavior in not reporting the death is suspicious," said Clark. "The smell was so bad it prompted a call from neighbors."
Do you have any information? Most everyone in Santa Cruz has passed this building, the last on the left as the Seabright neighborhood gives way to the view of the Boardwalk.

The East Cliff apartment building where the body was found.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Crime rate in Florida at 40-year low

Crime rate in Florida at 40-year low

The crime rate in Florida fell to a 40-year low in 2010, the latest statewide crime statistics indicate.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement said this week the state's crime rate decreased 6.6 percent with declines in all violent crime categories as well as burglary and auto theft.

Orange, Hillsborough and Palm Beach Counties experienced overall crime declines of more than 10 percent.

Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings credited community policing and a crackdown on drug dealers for the decrease.
"We have accomplished this by focusing our efforts on community policing initiatives that reduce the prevalence of street drugs by arresting repeat offenders and by taking over 1,000 firearms off the streets," Demings said.

The Orlando Sentinel reported Wednesday criminology experts agreed stepped-up enforcement by Demings' department and the Orlando police had taken both drugs and firearms off the streets.

The newspaper noted Demings' wife Val is the police chief in Orlando.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Autopsy inconclusive in cause of death of Round Lake Park mom

Autopsy inconclusive in cause of death of Round Lake Park mom
By Frank Abderholden

The autopsy of Melissa Best on Wednesday did not determine a cause of death, while her husband issued a statement thanking everyone for their help in finding the missing woman.

Lake County Coroner Artis Yancey said the cause of death for the 34-year-old mother of two from Round Lake Park will have to wait eight to 10 days for the full toxicology studies.

Best was reported missing April 15 and authorities believe she died that day, but wasn’t found until Monday evening at the sprawling Grays Pointe Condominiums in Grayslake, 11 days later.

Police were able to identify two people she met in a Waukegan extended-stay motel for a “social meeting.” They told authorities where they drove Best’s Pontiac minivan and abandoned it. She was in the back of the vehicle.

Authorities said drugs and alcohol contributed to her death after an initial toxicology screening was positive for opiates. Police are working with the Lake County State’s Attorney’s Office to determine if the two people she was with broke the law by concealing her death.

Her husband, Clint Best, released a statement through the Round Lake Park Police Department thanking authorities for their work in finding his wife.

“I would like to thank all the law enforcement involved in the missing person’s investigation, especially the chief and detectives of the Round Lake Park Police Department,” he said.

“I would also like to thank all of the media outlets who carried the story in the help of getting the word out to help in the search for Melissa,” he added.

Best said he appreciated all the people from across the nation who went to the Facebook site for his wife and “offered their love and prayers to me and my family during this troubling and sad time in our lives.”

He asked the media not to contact him because he and his family are grieving their loss.

“I have full confidence in the police that they will do the right thing in bringing justice to the people who were involved in Melissa’s disappearance,” he said.

1987 Missing Teen Cold Case Reopened

1987 Missing Teen Cold Case Reopened In Indiana County
State Police in Indiana are asking people to help them solve a missing persons case from 1987.

Police said on April 26, 1987, Alicia Markovich, 15, went missing after visiting her dad John Markovich at his Blairsville home.

Police said they had an argument and was last seen walking down the street.

The investigation led police all along the east coast but their leads turned out to be nothing.

Markovich's mother Marcie Smith said, "There's not a day that goes by that I don't think about her."

Police and family are asking anyone previously involved in the case and anyone who has answers to call the state police barrack in Indiana at 724-357-1960.

Police said they don't believe Markovich is alive; they just want closure for her family.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Police investigating murder-suicide of Tampa couple

Police investigating murder-suicide of Tampa couple

Mark McVicker was addicted to alcohol and depressed when he went missing earlier this month, according to a report filed by Melissa Morrison, his former fiancée.
Morrison, a waitress at Datz Deli, was so worried about McVicker that she filed a missing persons report on April 8, saying he had been drinking when he left his residence three days earlier, but never made it to his destination in Southaven, Miss., where he was heading to see his god-mother Sandra Flanigan.
Morrison and McVicker were engaged to be married, but she broke up with him six weeks earlier because of his alcohol addiction, according to the missing persons report. The night he went missing, McVicker texted Morrison:
"I love you," he texted. "Thanks for texting me back, you're probably busy with the guys at your work."
Morrison was worried about more than McVicker's drinking. He had recently bought a gun, "supposedly for protection," the report said.
On April 9, police cleared the missing persons case when McVicker and his aunt walked into the Southaven Police Department.
But that wasn't the end of the problems for this couple. Sunday, neighbors called 911 saying they heard gunfire. Police responded and found the couple dead in McVicker's bedroom. A gun was found nearby.
Police aren't saying right now who fired the fatal shots, but are calling the deaths a murder-suicide.
Kelli McCan had begged Morrison not to go to the apartment.
"I wish she would have called me," says McCan. "I would have done anything for her."
McCan, who runs a pet-sitting service in Tampa, says she only knew Morrison a short time, after hiring her about two months ago.
Shortly after going to work for her, McCan says Morrison, 33, called her, saying that McVicker, 39, was abusing her and that she had left him.
"When she called me, she was beat up and needed to leave that night," says McCan. "I begged her not to go back there."
The couple had met in Fort Myers and then went to England, to take care of his mother, says McCan. They returned late last year and moved in together in an apartment on Bayshore Drive, she says.
But the relationship turned sour, McCan says, and a month ago, she helped her move into an apartment and find a roommate at 4114 Neptune St.
On his Facebook page, McVicker stated that he was a private investor and had graduated from the University of South Florida, Class of 1998, with degrees in criminal justice and finance.
He also wrote that he went to high school at Maiden Erleigh in Reading, England.
On her Facebook page, Morrison lists her relationship status going from "Being in a relationship" to "single" on March 6. On April 20, she posted "Rules For Being Human – Your Guidelines For Personal Growth And Development"
Morrison writes that she graduated from Fort Myers High School, class of 1995 and lists "Official XFC, Healthy Weight Solutions, Schwartz Research Services, Inc., FinerMinds" as her interests.
Morrison was state licensed as a massage therapist until 2007, according to records.
Morrison, "was really good with animals," says McCan. "She was a wonderful and kind person. And she was scared. I can't believe this happened."
Blossom Ortiz, who knew McVicker since the two attended the University of South Florida nearly 20 years ago, called him her best friend and says his friends called him Marcus.
"They were both good people," says Ortiz, who met Morrison through McVicker.
They were an adventurous couple who wanted to travel the world together, says Ortiz.
Though they broke up, the two were still friends, Ortiz says.
"At first he was distraught, but then time heals," she says.
Ortiz says the last time she saw McVicker was Wednesday. The two had dinner. They last talked Saturday.
"He sounded good," says Ortiz. "He said they made plans to get together Saturday night."
The next day, Ortiz says she received a text message from McVicker. It was just hours before the shooting.
"Happy Easter Sunday," he wrote.
That was the last she heard from him.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Family hopes someone can help

Family hopes someone can help

HAVERHILL — Charles and Ann Allen hope that a television program about missing persons will lead to finding their oldest son, who has been missing for nearly four years.
Tonight at 10 p.m., the Discovery Channel's program "Disappeared," will turn its spotlight on the search for Charles Allen Jr. of Haverhill, who was last seen Oct. 12, 2007.
"We can only hope that somebody recognizes Charlie and that he shows up," Charles Allen Sr. said. "I would say this will be the most exposure this story has received so far, as it will be national and international."
Charles Allen Jr., whose 26th birthday is tomorrow, was in his senior year at UMass Dartmouth at the time of his disappearance. About a month before he disappeared, he had legally changed his name to Neo Babson Maximus. His family said the only name they've ever used is "Charlie," although Neo Babson Maximus is the name used in past news and television programs about his disappearance, as well as on a social networking site a friend created as one effort in the search.
Charles Allen Sr. said he, his wife, Ann, their daughter Brittany, 24, and their son Brendan, 19, hope that someone watching the Discovery program will recognize him.
"Somehow they heard about Charlie's case and contacted the investigator, Dartmouth Police, and eventually us," Charles Allen Sr. said about the show's producers. "It began with phone interviews over the winter, then a visit with us for more than 10 hours where they spoke with me, my wife and our daughter separately. They wanted to know from the beginning what happened, how it happened, and our feelings, and they spent a solid week in the area interviewing other people and filming."
Charles Allen Jr. (Neo Babson Maximus) is a 2003 graduate of Haverhill High School. He disappeared shortly after his sister Brittany called him on his cell phone on the night of Oct. 11, 2007. She had asked him why he had deleted his Facebook account and he told her he had not, and that people were after him.
"He said he didn't feel safe and that he should probably move back home," Brittany Allen said about her brother. "I hope to God he's alive.''
Extensive land and aerial searches had failed to find him. Another search conducted on the one-year anniversary of his disappearance also failed to turn up any clues.
But one reported sighting at the time of his disappearance had raised his family's hopes. A woman in Dartmouth told police that a man wearing only pants and sneakers entered her house through a second-story window around 3 a.m. on Oct. 12, 2007 — the day after Charles Allen Jr. disappeared. She said the intruder seemed confused and that he was looking for one of his college friends, who he thought lived there. Police found Charles' sneakers not far from there a few days later. They also found his backpack filled with school supplies in the woods near the college.
Charles Allen Sr. said his son had struggled with bipolar disorder which caused him to become manic at times, and which often made family life difficult. He said things seemed to be going well at the start of his son's senior year at UMass Dartmouth, then something went wrong. He said his son had stopped taking his medication and that it may have caused his thoughts to become confused.
In messages left on his parents' cell phones he talked about heading south to Florida or Texas.
"Somewhere warm is what he said," Charles Allen Sr. said. "Our hope is he decided to take off and start a new life and that he will eventually decide to come back. We don't want to consider the alternatives."
Ann Allen said a television program called "Psychic Kids,'' which aired more than a year ago, also focused on her son's disappearance.
"It got his face on TV, along with his name and story, although nothing came of it," Ann Allen said. "But it was a way of keeping the story out there."
She hopes that tonight's show will reach an even greater audience.
"We really have no reason to give up hope," she said.
Anthony Costanzo of Haverhill, a close high school friend of Charles Allen Jr., maintains a MySpace page dedicated to finding him. On it, Costanzo says that prior to the disappearance, Charles Allen Jr. had become obsessed with tennis, that he believed he would become a professional tennis player and wanted to have a unique name. Costanzo says on his site that his friend used Neo for his first name, as it is the name of the main character in "The Matrix," as well as his trademark name in the online first-person shooter games Half-Life. He said his friend used Maximus for his last name, as it is the name of the main character in "Gladiator." Charles Allen Sr. said the name "Babson" was his mother's maiden name.

Texas Deputy Killed in Shootout; Suspect Fatally Shot

Texas Deputy Killed in Shootout; Suspect Fatally Shot

VENUS, Texas -- A North Texas deputy has died after being shot in the line of duty in a small town south of Dallas-Fort Worth and a suspect also was fatally shot, authorities said.

Johnson County Sheriff Bob Alford said in a statement that the shooting erupted Saturday afternoon near Venus and that a suspect was shot dead by deputies.

Alford didn't identify the suspect or the officer in his release, but local media outlets said Alford later spoke to reporters outside a Fort Worth hospital where the deputy had been rushed and identified him as Clifton Taylor, 31.

The Fort Worth Star-Telegram said Taylor, who had been with the department for little more than three years, had been shot three times - in his neck, side, and back.

"I can't say enough what a fine officer Clifton Taylor was," Alford was quoted as telling the newspaper. "He will be missed."

A supervisor at the John Peter Smith Hospital, Anthony Vargas, told The Associated Press early Sunday that a man identified as Clifton Taylor was pronounced dead at the Fort Worth hospital on Saturday evening. Vargas said the man had at least one gunshot wound but he declined to release further information.

Alford had said earlier no further information would be released as the investigation continues.

Tim Jones, the agency's spokesman, said in the statement that the sheriff's office "requests your support and prayers during this very trying time in our agency."

Venus is a town of less than 2,000 people, located about 30 miles south of Dallas-Fort Worth. Local reports said Texas Rangers would take part in the investigation as is customary when an officer is shot.

Video footage after the shooting showed law enforcement officers pacing about a shed in a yard while an ambulance stood by and a crime scene photographer worked at the site.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Families Looking for Missing Miami Teens

Families Looking for Missing Miami Teens

Boyfriend and girlfriend haven't been seen since Monday

By Brian Hamacher

The families of two Miami teens who have been missing since earlier this week are worried for their safety.

Nicole Marie Dones, 17, and boyfriend Jackson Wayne Powell, 18, haven't been seen since Monday evening, according to the Miami-Dade Police department.

Police say Dones was last seen leaving her home in the 11000 block of Southwest 87th Ave. with a few bags with personal belongings.

The 5-foot-5, 120-pound teen is likely with Powell, police said.

The families of both teens will be making a public plea Friday afternoon to try to find out what happened to them.

Authorities are asking anyone with information to call the Miami-Dade Police Department at 305-418-7201.

Man Charged In Miami-Dade Woman's Stabbing Death

Man Charged In Miami-Dade Woman's Stabbing Death
Reinerio Rivero confessed to killing Elizabeth Palomino while trying to steal cash to spend at a casino

By Janie Campbell

Police say a woman whose husband came home last Sunday to find her stabbed to death in their son's bedroom was killed by a man who wanted cash to spend a casino.

Reinerio Alonso Rivero, 35, of Miami, confessed to killing 50-year-old Elizabeth Roxana Palomino in her home on Southwest 156th Street.

He told police he had broken into the home and was looking for cash when Palomino arrived home earlier than he anticipated.

Rivero then hid in a closet, according to the arrest report, but was "eventually seen" by Palomino. She ran into her son's bedroom and locked the door, but he kicked the door down and stabbed her multiple times in the chest.

He also confessed to stabbing her again several times in the back as she attempted to pick herself off the floor.

The arrest report also states Palomino's throat was cut "multiple times."

Palomino's husband, Percy, found her body when he arrived home around 1 a.m. Sunday from the dance studio the couple owned. Their son was away attending the University of Central Florida when his mother was killed in his room.

Rivero has been charged with first degree murder and armed occupied burglary.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Gang Member With Tattoo of Crime Scene Convicted of Murder

Gang Member With Tattoo of Crime Scene Convicted of Murder

By Tori Richards

NORWALK, Calif. -- In 2008, Los Angeles County sheriff's homicide Sgt. Kevin Lloyd was preparing to testify as an expert in a gang case by poring over a photo album of tattoos. Then one picture stopped him.

Emblazoned across the chest of a dark-haired man was the tattoo of a liquor store that looked vaguely familiar. It was in the city of Pico Rivera, an east Los Angeles suburb where Lloyd had worked four years earlier. Upon closer inspection, Lloyd could see intricate details, including a light post, store Christmas lights and gunfire.

Tattoo of Murder
Los Angeles County Sheriff's Dept
Anthony Garcia's tattoo showing a "Mr. Peanut" character getting shot from a helicopter near a liquor store caught the eye of a Los Angeles County sheriff's sergeant and eventually led to a murder conviction.
It also showed a "Mr. Peanut" character getting shot from a helicopter under the banner, "Rivera Kills." Lloyd knew that "peanut" was a term for a rival gang and "chopper" was the nickname of the person Lloyd was staring at -- Anthony Garcia.

Lloyd "was shocked by the perspective of that tattoo," sheriff's Capt. Mike Parker said. "It all started coming back to him, he remembered standing in that position and looking at this homicide scene."

This week Garcia, 25, was convicted of the 2004 murder that was played across his chest like a beacon proclaiming "I'm guilty." He will be sentenced May 19 in Norwalk, Calif., and faces a minimum of 65 years in prison.

"This is very extraordinary," said the case prosecutor, Deputy District Attorney Brock Lunsford. "You see him as an exhibit because he has such detail. The victim is actually [falling] down in the right place. The copter is shooting from the right to the left. There is even a curve to the light post, which is a pretty unusual type of light post."

Lunsford told AOL News that the tattoo was identical to the scene where unarmed rival gang member John Juarez was ambushed and gunned down outside Ed's Liquor. Before the shooting, Juarez was on the telephone in a nearby phone booth. After hanging up, he was walking away when Garcia approached and used the common gang phrase, "Where are you from?" before firing.

Garcia didn't have a personal connection to Juarez; the victim just happened to be in an area that Garcia's gang had claimed as its turf. Coincidentally, Lloyd had talked to Juarez a week before the shooting and urged him to quit the gang. Juarez said he would.
The case remained unsolved for years because there were no witnesses. After Lloyd started working on the case, the Sheriff's Department worked undercover and obtained a confession from Garcia. The getaway driver also implicated him to avoid receiving a maximum sentence.

The tip-off to the murderer had been right in front of authorities for years. During the trial, Lunsford showed jurors a series of Garcia's booking photos, taken for other offenses after the murder. Each photo showed the progression of the tattoo -- how different elements were added at different times. Lunsford also obtained a photo of Garcia at the beach before the murder without the tattoo.

"He's an extremely arrogant man, but not stupid. He got away with this murder for awhile," Lunsford said. "He was proud of what he did. His arrogance just got the better of him."

Friday, April 22, 2011

Police Believe Missing Woman is Dead

Police Believe Missing Woman is Dead

Husband charged with giving false statement

CONROE, Texas - Three days of searching a massive landfill and there is still no sign of a missing Conroe woman.

Conroe Police believe this is more than just a missing persons case. The husband of Martha Jimenez has been charged with giving authorities a false statement.

"She was last seen on Saturday night April the 9th at around midnight when she was leaving work,” said Conroe PD Sgt. Joe Smart. “She was actually seen on her store's surveillance videotape closing the store so we know she was okay then and she hasn't been seen since."

He confirms, at this point, they believe the 45-year-old is dead.

Martha's husband, Luis, has worked at the landfill in Cleveland for 4 years.

"We have reason to believe that he was here on Sunday morning the 10th," Deputy Chief Russell Reynolds told us.
That's because of what was seen on surveillance video.

"We do know a vehicle was seen with unauthorized access into the landfill," Reynolds said.

All employees have the combination to open the gate at the landfill. The property is laid out very methodically and in a grid pattern. Search crews are concentrating on the area that was active when Martha disappeared.

But wouldn't anyone who works here know which area to avoid?

"We have our reasons to believe that this the best place, the best choice," Deputy Chief Reynolds said.

Tim Miller with Texas Equusearch is helping in the efforts. Heavy machinery has been called in and more than a dozen people are carefully sifting through the piles of trash.

Even though three days have turned up nothing, Miller insists everyone remains optimistic and determined.
"We know that there is a holiday coming up and I think we're all even focused more on getting her home so her children have some answers by Easter," Miller said.

Police tell us that they have not had any calls to the family's home in Conroe in the past. They do confirm there were "issues" between the couple.

Luis Jimenez is being held in the Montgomery County jail charged with giving a false statement to police.

In the meantime, search crews will be back at the landfill on Thursday. If they still do not find anything at the end of the day, they will reevaluate and decide how to proceed from there.