American Crime's Popular Posts

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

DNA project leads to renewed push to solve Oklahoma missing-person

DNA project leads to renewed push to solve Oklahoma missing-person
TULSA, Okla. — A DNA-based project launched last fall has led to increased efforts to match unidentified human remains in Oklahoma with missing-person cases.

The Tulsa World reports that a handful of state and local law-enforcement agencies announced the "Search for the Missing" project last fall. Among those participating are the state Medical Examiner's office and the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation.

One of the project's primary goals is to have family members of missing persons have DNA profiles entered into a national database that lists missing and unidentified persons, in hopes a genetic match will be found.

Authorities say 125 Oklahoma unidentified-remains cases are entered in the database and 113 of those are still open.

Medical Examiner's office spokeswoman Cherokee Ballard says it's "a high priority" to put names with unidentified cases.

Monday, May 30, 2011


Today, we observe and pay tribute to those that have fallen and those still standing in bravery for our country. 

We Thank, Love, and Honor You. 

God Bless All.

-American Crime

Friday, May 27, 2011

Man featured as most wanted captured

Man featured as most wanted captured


D’IBERVILLE -- For the second time this week, readers have led officials to one of South Mississippi’s most-wanted criminal suspects featured in Sunday’s Sun Herald, D’Iberville police investigator Terry Hines said.

This time, tipsters called or emailed tips to D’Iberville police or Crimestoppers leading them to Suburban Lodge on Rodriguez Street, where 45-year-old Patrick Fisher was staying Tuesday. Michele Pritchard, 35, of Ocean Springs, another person in the case, was also there.

Authorities had been searching for Fisher since mid-April, when he’s accused on three separate occasions of stealing GPS devices and cell phones from Target in D’Iberville. Two times, Hines said, Fisher had someone with him to help steal the items valued at $1,049.94.

Investigators identified one as Pritchard, who was charged Tuesday with misdemeanor shoplifting. A man also is wanted, though authorities had not yet identified him Wednesday.

Police credited the Sun Herald’s most-wanted series for helping them make the arrest. Hines said, “The Sun Herald’s most-wanted really helped us.”

Fisher is the second person on the most-wanted list arrested since Sunday.

Ocean Springs police arrested Tiffany Foxx, 39, on two counts of prescription forgery within hours of distribution of Sunday’s Sun Herald. Readers reported Foxx’s location to authorities.

South Mississippi authorities are still searching for 16 others on the most-wanted list.


Thursday, May 26, 2011

Miami Archdiocese Facing Sex Abuse Suit

Miami Archdiocese Facing Sex Abuse Suit

Lawsuit claims priest molested 10-year-old boy in 1970s

The Archdiocese of Miami is facing yet another lawsuit by a man who claims he was sexually abused by a Catholic priest in the 1970s.
The lawsuit, filed Thursday in Miami-Dade Circuit Court, claims Father Francisco Carrera sexually abused Jorge Rubio when he was a 10-year-old in approximately 1976.
"He became an extension of my family. We trusted him with everything," Rubio said at a press conference Thursday.
Carrera was assigned at Our Lady of Divine Providence at the time of the alleged abuse, and became close to the Rubio family to obtain their confidence and trust, the lawsuit claims.
Rubio said Carrera was known for being a camper and often set up trips and invited boys form the church to go on overnight trips.
The suit claims Carrera abused Rubio twice, once at Rubio's house while his parents were asleep and a second time while the two slept alone in a tent during a camping trip.
The lawsuit claims the Archdiocese was aware of the alleged abuse by Carrera and that it covered up for him by transferring him to different parishes and eventually back to his native Spain.
"Everybody should be held accountable," Rubio said. "Someone in that position should be held even more accountable."
In a statement issued Thursday, The Archdiocese said Carrera has resided in his home Diocese of Salamanca, Spain, since the early 1980s.
"As always, the Catholic Church’s concerns are for the victims and a prevailing sense of justice," the statement said. "In addition, over these past nine years, the Archdiocese has been forthcoming and taken steps to keep children safe through training and background screenings of all its employees."

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Desperate Search for Missing Teen

Search for Missing Danville Teen Draws Support From Around the Bay Area

Allison "Alliy" Bayliss, 15, was last seen Monday. Her bike was found in a parking lot near the Golden Gate Bridge.
By Kari Hulac, Elizabeth Shemaria, Kyle Bonagura, and Martha Ross

The desperate effort to find a 15-year-old suicidal girl from a wealthy East Bay suburb is drawing together thousands of strangers on Facebook and hundreds of volunteer searchers to the rugged foothills around the Golden Gate Bridge.
With 15-year-old Allison “Alliy” Bayliss missing for 48 hours, the fear is palpable. Last seen about 8 a.m. Monday, it appears she rode her purple mountain bike to a BART station nine miles away from her Danville home and took the 40-minute trip to the Embarcadero near Fisherman's Wharf.
The Diamondback bike, a helmet by its side, was found by Alliy's father around 4:45 a.m. Tuesday. It was locked to a bike rack in a parking lot about eight miles away from the Embarcadero, at Fort Point, a national historic site in the Marin Headlands that overlooks the Golden Gate Bridge, a known suicide magnet that draws about 19 people annually to their deaths.
In fact, just last week San Francisco Bay Area-based speaker Kevin Hines, one of only about 30 people to ever survive a suicide attempt from the bridge, visited Bayliss’ school, San Ramon Valley High, to tell his story and spread awareness that “suicide is never the solution to any problem.” As he spoke, many students were reduced to tears.
In April, a 16-year-old girl made local headlinesby miraculously surviving a jump from the bridge. She was rescued from the cold waters of San Francisco Bay by residents of Alamo and Walnut Creek, two communities bordering Danville.
In October 2008, after years of controversy, the Golden Gate Bridge board of directors finally agreed to erect a net barrier to help deter jumpers. It's going to cost $40 million and funding hasn't yet been identified.
“Now that our students are seeing a suicide crisis happening in front of them, some are beginning to realize that suicide prevention happens right now, not when it’s already too late,” said San Ramon Valley senior Amanda Nguyen, who wrote a column about Alliy for Danville Patch.
She said many students could relate to what Alliy might be going through.
“This unfortunate situation has opened the eyes of many teenagers,” Nguyen wrote. “They are suddenly starting to realize how much they can relate to Alliy, in the sense that they have — at one point or another — just wanted to run away from it all.”
The sobering reality of Alliy's situation stands in stark contrast to the town's demographics as a wealthy suburb of 42,000 nestled 30 miles east of San Francisco. In addition to being the hometown of famous airline pilot Chesley Sullenberger, it recently made headlines for its residents spending the most money among any city in California on clothing.
Now it’s attracting the media spotlight for its community spirit.
Multiple Facebook pages supporting the search effort sprung up overnight, one of them attracting 11,000 members in 24 hours. It has since been shut down but others are taking its place. An estimated 100 people from Danville left behind their jobs and other obligations and spent Tuesday posting fliers and combing the trails, beaches and city streets looking for Allison.
Kevin Sawcheck, a friend of the family, said the search will continue as long as necessary.
"Everyone is just focused on finding Alliy," said Sawcheck. "We are obviously very worried. Alliy, please come back. We all love you and want you to come back home."
Danville Police Chief Steve Simpkins said the participation of Danville residents in the search has been awe-inspiring.   
"The community of Danville is acting as if it's their own family member," he said.
Troy Corti, a 2002 graduate of San Ramon Valley High, was part of the search near the bridge Tuesday.
Corti, who grew up in the San Ramon Valley but now lives in San Francisco, heard about Bayliss from text messages and Facebook.
"I thought it (volunteering) was something I should do," he said.
By all accounts Alliy looks like typical Danville-raised teen: She attended elementary and middle school there; has three siblings and sports that all-American look: long blonde hair pulled back in a ponytail, blue eyes, athletic — she’s on the swim team — with a wide smile that proudly show teeth recently freed of braces. There are even videos of her skillfully playing popular classical tunes on the piano, such as the theme from the movie "The Titanic," posted on a YouTube channel. 
It’s likely hundreds will attend a multi-denominational vigil planned for her and her family from 7 to 8 p.m. tonight at Danville Congregational Church.
Allison was last seen wearing a red zip hoodie jacket, jeans and mismatching flip-flops, one green and one yellow. She is 5-foot-8, has blue eyes and blonde hair and weighs 130 pounds.
Anyone with information is asked to call 9-1-1 immediately or 925-646-2441

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Investigators recovering body of man killed in 2009

Investigators recovering body of man killed in 2009
by Natalie Rivers

Phoenix police believe they have found the body of a missing man in a cold case they have been working on for almost two years.

In August of 2009 the Phoenix Police Department Missing Persons Unit began investigating the suspicious disappearance of William McGrath.

McGrath's body was never found, but eventually an arrest was made for first degree murder, fraud schemes and other related charges.

Brad Tocker was convicted for the murder of McGrath in March, even without his body being discovered.

Phoenix Police investigators, the Maricopa County Attorney's Office and the medical examiner's office are working to recover the body of McGrath buried under a home in the area of 27th Street and McDowell Road.

Stay with for updates on this developing story.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Autopsy confirms body found in Chicago River is model Irma Sabanovic

Autopsy confirms body found in Chicago River is model Irma Sabanovic
Isabelle Zehnder

COOK COUNTY, Illinois (Isabelle Zehnder reporting) -- An autopsy report released Sunday confirms the body found in the Chicago River Saturday belongs to model and college student Irma Sabanovic.

The last time 25-year-old Irma was seen was when she was leaving her home on May 12 with the intention of going to a nightclub "The Exit" at West North and North Elston Avenues and allegedly got lost.

A missing persons alert from Belmont Area detectives was issued on May 16.

The autopsy report indicates Irma drowned but was not able to determine the manner of death, according to the Cook County Medical Examiner's Office.

Sabavonic was dead on the scene Saturday inside her submerged vehicle in the river near 1400 W Blackhawk Street, according to the medical examiner's office.

Cranes were used to pull the car out of the river near North Elston Avenue and West Blackhawk Street, Shakespeare District Police Lt. Michael Mulkerin said.

“The car surfaced. It was a blue Ford Focus,”according to the lieutenant, who said he was notified Saturday at 12:15 p.m.

It was a sad and solemn day for her friends and family who had so desparately hoped for a different outcome. Irma was an immigrant from Bosnia and a full-time college student and model.

Her friends and family had plastered the local areas with missing persons' fliers in hopes of finding her. A Facebook page was also created to try to help find her.

“We were hoping to find a better result than we found today,” said Evelina Mehanovic, who had attended Mather High School with Sabanovic and created the Facebook page, which had raised just under $15,000 in donations toward the search ever since the woman went missing.

“I’m very sad and very confused,” said Mehanovic, as she waited at the river’s edge for the car to be pulled up.

At around 2 a.m. on May 12, Irma texted a male friend telling him she was lost near North Milwaukee Avenue and West Erie Street. That was the last communication anyone had from Sabanovic, the missing persons alert said.

“Its the first time anything like this has happened to any one of us who came here after the war. It’s very sad,” said another woman at the scene, Safa Sabanovic, (no relation), who didn’t know the missing woman but had helped in the search. “We all are lost and don’t know what went down.”

Police say Irma's car was discovered Saturday after the Chicago Police Marine Unit picked up a sonar signal indicating an object in the river at that location.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Family, friends remember missing woman 1 year after disappearance

Family, friends remember missing woman 1 year after disappearance


WOODSTOCK – A friend of a missing Woodstock wife and mother says she is done protecting the people who she thinks know something about what happened to Beth Bentley the weekend she disappeared.

Monday marks one year since Bentley last was seen. Her family and friends will host a balloon release in her honor at 3 p.m. today at Emricson Park at the top of the sled hill in Woodstock.

Angela Montgomery thinks that Bentley’s friend Jenn Wyatt has the keys to the case that has stymied police and frustrated family members. Montgomery does not believe Wyatt’s account of her last moments with Bentley.

Wyatt repeatedly has said she dropped Bentley off at a Centralia train station after a weekend trip to Mount Vernon.

“Remember, nobody in Centralia ever saw Beth,” Montgomery said. “Nobody that got off at those trains, nobody that was at that open restaurant that sunny night. Nobody on the streets of Centralia. You notice Beth. You did.”

But Wyatt maintains that she knows nothing about Bentley’s whereabouts. And authorities have no persons of interest in the case, Woodstock Police Chief Robert Lowen said.

“I don’t know anything,” Wyatt said. “I keep racking my brain trying to remember if she said anything.”

Wyatt said she and Bentley traveled in May 2010 to Mount Vernon to visit Wyatt’s boyfriend and his brother, who were rehabbing a house in the town about 80 miles east of St. Louis.

Wyatt said she dropped Bentley off across the street from an Amtrak station in nearby Centralia on May 23, 2010. 

Authorities have been unable to verify whether Bentley ever boarded a train, and Amtrak has no record of her ever buying a ticket. She hasn’t been seen since.

Woodstock Police are focusing their efforts on the Mount Vernon and Centralia areas with help from downstate authorities and the Illinois State Police. The departments are in weekly contact with downstate police, who have conducted area searches, followed up on leads, and verified witness statements.

Wyatt told police about a boat trip that the group took while in Mount Vernon. Lowen said police verified that the boat trip happened and that everyone returned.

Although rumors swirl about what happened to the mother of three, authorities have not established a leading theory.
“Anything is a possibility,” Lowen said.

Wyatt told the Northwest Herald that Bentley either was going to take the Amtrak train to Chicago or was going to be picked up by a boyfriend – but her memory of that day is foggy.

“I don’t pay attention to a lot of things,” Wyatt said. “I wish I would have paid attention more to what is going on and what was said. ... I don’t remember anything because it wasn’t like I was going to have to remember this weekend forever.”

Bentley’s husband, Scott Bentley, said his wife frequently went on weekend getaways. But this time, Beth Bentley told her husband that she was going to Madison, Wis., with Wyatt.

“That’s the unexplainable part. I don’t know why [she said she was going to Madison]. I have no explanation for that,” Scott Bentley said.

Wyatt works in Scott Bentley’s McHenry law office, where Beth Bentley also worked before she disappeared.

Wyatt didn’t wait for her friend either to be picked up or to board the train a year ago, a fact that “haunts me every day,” she said.

“I feel horrible,” Wyatt said. “I do feel like it’s a lot my fault because I did take her where she wanted to go.”

Scott Bentley said any and all theories about what happened to his wife are on the table, and nothing can be ruled out – even the possibility that she was the victim of foul play or that she left of her own volition.

“You can’t discount any of [the theories] because there are no facts to say this couldn’t have happened,” Scott Bentley said. “You don’t know. She’s vanished.”

The case has confounded authorities, who even listened to what a self-proclaimed psychic had to say.

“Somebody came forward – a friend of Beth’s,” Lowen said. “We listened to this person without much success.”

Lowen said the biggest challenge in the investigation was distance. Beth Bentley last was seen in Centralia, hundreds of miles from where she was reported as a missing person.

Wyatt is hopeful that Beth Bentley is still alive.

“I’m hoping that she left because she was scared,” Wyatt said. “I don’t know what was going through her head. I think she’s just confused.”

But Montgomery said Beth Bentley never would miss the milestones in her children’s lives that have passed this past year. Furthermore, Beth Bentley’s credit cards and cell phone have not been used since she disappeared. The last time her cell phone or any credit cards were used was late afternoon May 23, 2010, Lowen said.

“She didn’t make any plans to leave on her own,” Montgomery said. “It wasn’t planned. She didn’t take anything with her that was of value. If she decided to do it on the fly, she didn’t have enough money to live.”

Wyatt said she shouldn’t have to defend herself against insinuations that she did something wrong.

“This is so hard,” Wyatt said. “I feel like I’m defending something that I shouldn’t have to defend. I didn’t do anything to Beth that [any] other friend wouldn’t have done. She asked me to take her somewhere, and I did. I would never hurt her, and I would never let anyone hurt her.”

Beth Bentley had two sons from a previous marriage, Jeremy and Josh Velmont, 19 and 22 years old, respectively. She and Scott have an 11-year-old son, Cooper.

“The littlest boy, Cooper, he’s just a wonderful kid,” Scott Bentley said. “He’s strong. He’s probably the toughest of all of us.”

Jeremy Velmont called the past year “stressful” on his family, especially his brothers. He and Josh Velmont both have moved out of Scott Bentley’s house and into their own apartments.

“It’s just kind of weird being in the home without my mom being there,” Jeremy Velmont said.

He latched onto hope that his mother was alive but just scared to come home.

“That’s definitely what we’re hoping for,” Jeremy Velmont said. “You don’t want to think that your mother ran away, but it’s better than thinking that she’s dead.”

The way Scott Bentley sees it, there is no good outcome from his wife being missing this long.

“Nothing good is going to happen,” Scott Bentley said. “There’s no happy ending to this.”

Facebook pages have been dedicated to helping find Beth Bentley. One since has been taken down for unknown reasons, but the original page started by Montgomery remains and can be found by searching Missing Beth Bentley on Facebook.

As they wait for answers about what happened to their wife and mother, Beth Bentley’s family just tries to take it one day at a time.

“All I can concentrate on is working and keeping a roof over [my] head for my son and myself, and that’s all you can do,” Scott Bentley said. “The world doesn’t stop, so you just keep going. You just have to.”

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Family frustrated in search for daughter

Family frustrated in search for daughter

Police and relatives say there is no evidence of an abduction of the teen

Friday, May 20, 2011

Say Thank You to Your Police Officers

Say Thank You to Your Police Officers

National Police Week (May 15-21) is winding down, but there's still time to honor local law enforcement. Here are some fun and easy ways to show your appreciation.

For those of you not familiar, President John F. Kennedy set aside, by Presidential Proclamation in 1962, every May 15 as Peace Officers Memorial Day, as well as the week it falls on as National Police Week. 
One of the event’s sponsors, the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, states that “on average one law enforcement officer is killed in the line of duty…every 53 hours. Since the first known line-of-duty death in 1791, more than 19,000 U.S. law enforcement officers have made the ultimate sacrifice.”
The poem, In The Line of Duty captures the essense of National Police Week with a poignant reminder:
“Today an officer will place their badge on their chest.  To fulfill the dreams of heroes killed In The Line of Duty.”
This week presents, not only a time to say a silent thank you to the 316 officers being added to the memorial in Washington D.C., but also an opportune time to recognize the brave men and women who currently serve and protect us. 
There are many ways to pay tribute to fallen officers and to appreciate those in blue today. While I only share a sampling, please refer to the websites (listed below) for additional information and ideas to commemorate National Police Week.

Ways families can share their thanks…

Silent Tributes For Fallen Officers
* Write an online tribute on National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund website,
* Light a Candle: Though the candlelight vigil at the Memorial itself was held on May 13, a family vigil of your own this week is a fitting way to include the entire family.
Appreciation for Current Officers
I will say it every time, the best way to show your thanks is with an old fashion hand-written thank you note.  Is there an officer who helped you or took the time to say hello to your police obsessed son?  Send them a personal note and as suggests, enclose a note asking the chief to put a copy in the officer’s personnel file.
Food is always a great way to celebrate your appreciation. Share the fun with friends and family, that way you can provide enough food for the entire department to enjoy while not breaking the bank.  Depending on your time and/or budget there are several options…
* Breakfast-Bagels, Muffins, Doughnuts (though completely stereotypical), Box of Joe, etc.
* Lunch-Sandwich Platter, potato salad and chips.  If time doesn’t allow a personal drop off, many restaurants deliver and pizza is both an economical and well-liked choice.
* Sweet Treats-Now who doesn’t love sweets?  Be it brownies, cookies or a full-fledged ice cream sundae bar.  Here are some time saving tips if this is the route you choose.
* Time Saving tips:
  • Packaged mixes are not only a great time saver; they also taste just as good as homemade.
  • Bake brownies in a mini cupcake pan for a faster cook time and better presentation
  • Bake cookie dough in a pizza pan to make a cookie cake.  Not only does it save time by eliminating the individual cookie prep, it is much easier, too!
* It is also worth asking local stores and restaurants for donations toward your gifts.  Grocery stores sometime donate gift certificates to non-profit organizations which could then be used to purchase items such as muffin mix, coffee, deli meats and rolls that you could prepare at home and then deliver in person.

Kid-Created Thank Yous

Collage Card-using a blank card, have your toddler glue pictures or stickers all over the front of the card.  Using a crayon, guided by your hand, they can write out THANK YOU and their name.  It doesn’t get much cuter than that and is a great way to have your toddler get in on the fun.
Preschool & Lower Elementary
* With a colored stamp pad, have the kids use their fingerprints to spell out THANK YOU.  If they are able, have them write their own sentiments inside.  Be sure to let them spell the words, even if it is “phonetically spelled,” that is an added touch!  You can include a cute postscript to the effect of “this is the only time you will see our fingerprints.”
* If you have a photo of a police officer that has helped you, add it to this fun toilet paper roll craft,
Upper Elementary and beyond
* Thankful Poem-written or typed, a poem is always meaningful.  Use white paper for the poem itself and then mat it on a colored piece of card stock.
* Sketched Portrait-like to draw?  How about capturing the police station or a town cruiser?  A piece of such personalized art is a wonderful way to show your appreciation. 
* Framing these projects is an inexpensive way to add a special touch while encouraging the officers to hang it in the station!
However you chose to appreciate and honor our law enforcement, I encourage you to reflect on thefollowing:
Police officers and emergency operators work around the clock to keep you safe. They willingly miss out on family time during the weekend and weeknights. Officers are out patrolling the street when you are asleep in your bed. Although the press likes to broadcast stories of officers making bad decisions, many more officers are doing whatever they can to be positive additions to the community they serve. There are many more great police officers than bad ones.”
In closing, I want to do some public thanking of my own. I would like to thank all our local law enforcement. Their hardwork and dedication to their respective departments is to be commended!
For additional information on National Police Week…