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Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Boy Lived in Cage, Wrote Letters

Christian Choate, Boy Who Died Locked In Cage, Wrote About Abuse And Desire To Die

Records of the Indiana Department of Child Services reveal that Christian Choate, a boy who authorities claim lived locked in a cage and died from savage abuse, wrote letters describing his situation and saying that he wanted to die.
According to the Chicago TribuneDCS visited with the Choate family in Gary, Indiana more than a dozen times starting in 1999, investigating allegations of abuse and neglect. Authorities never discovered what prosecutors claim was the true depth of the misery in which young Christian lived.
Based on accounts from his sister and stepsister, Christian, who died in 2009 at age 13, spent much of the last year of his life locked in a three-foot-high dog cage, with little food and drink and few opportunities to leave. When he did get out of the cage, he endured savage beatings from his father Riley.
One night in April of 2009, Christian was too weak to keep his food down. His father allegedly beat him to the point of unconsciousness, then locked his limp body in the cage.
The next morning, his sister Christina found him dead.
According to investigators, Riley then buried the boy in a shallow grave, covered his body in concrete, and moved with Christina to Kentucky, where he threatened to harm her if she ever told anyone about his death. It would be two years before his body was found.
One of the reasons his absence wasn't noticed was that his stepmother, Kimberly Kubina, took him out of school, saying that he was being home-schooled.
The extent of that homeschooling was revealed in some letters found by DCS. When other children were out playing, Kubina would give Christian paper and tell him to write.
"Christian wrote of why nobody liked him and how he just wanted to be liked by his family,"a DCS document wrote, according to theChicago Sun-Times. "Christian stated that he wanted to die because nobody liked the way he 'acted.' Christian's writings detail a very sad, depressed child who often wondered when someone, anyone, was going to come check on him and give him food or liquid. Christian often stated he was hungry or thirsty."
In a still more disturbing twist, the Northwest Indiana Times reveals some of the assignments his stepmother gave:
Kubina wrote topics on top of some of the pages including, "Why do you want to play with your peter? Why do you still want to see your mom? Why can't you let the past go? What does it mean to be part of a family?" DCS records state.
Riley Choate and Kimberly Kubina have been charged with murder, battery, neglect of a dependent, confinement, obstruction of justice, moving a body from a death scene and failure to notify authorities of a dead body. They have both pleaded not guilty.

Monday, June 27, 2011

No ID on missing swimmer still being sought by Coast Guard

No ID on missing swimmer still being sought by Coast Guard
Man disappeared off Atlantic Beach Sunday.
By Jim Schoettler

The U.S. Coast Guard is continuing its search this morning for a man who disappeared in the ocean off Atlantic Beach Sunday, said Coast Guard spokesman Christopher Evanson.

Evanson said several witnesses said they saw the man swimming about 100 yards offshore when he disappeared about 7:45 p.m. He had been swimming in the area of Second Street.

The Coast Guard scoured the area throughout the night with a helicopter and search boats, but found nothing.

Evanson said the man's identity is unknown and no missing persons report has been filed with local authorities.

“We haven’t heard anything from the community, which could be an indication that this individual might have been swimming alone without notifying anyone,” Evanson said.

Evanson warned ocean swimmers that they should have some kind of buddy system in place so that someone knows where they planned to swim and when they planned to return.

Evanson said a third rescue crew is now searching the area where the man was last seen. He said he wasn't sure how long the search would last.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Holly Bobo’s parents and brother break their silence, issue plea for help

Holly Bobo’s parents and brother break their silence, issue plea for help
By Isabelle Zehnder
    PARSONS, Tennessee (Isabelle Zehnder reporting) -- Holly Bobo’s parents and brother broke their silence Wednesday evening and issued a plea to anyone with information about Holly’s abduction.
    “Anyone out there who has any information, no matter how small you think it is,” Holly’s brother, Clint Bobo said during an exclusive interview with WBBJ, “please, come forward with it and turn that in to authorities.”
    Officials say they have no reason to believe Holly has been taken from West Tennessee, giving her mom, Karen Bobo hope her daughter can hear her now. “We love you and we miss you so much. We’ll never give up until you’re back home with us,” Karen said.
    Officials and Holly’s family believe someone, and possibly more than one person, knows what happened and are just afraid to come forward. They need to come forward and stop the nightmare her family has lived through for the past 10 weeks.
    Holly’s cousin, country singer Whitney Duncan, understood how they feel and said just days after Holly went missing, “Lord have mercy I feel like I’m walking in a nightmare.”
    Ongoing investigation & why the TBI is withholding some information
    The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) is the lead agency working Holly’s case. They are assisted by local, state, and federal agencies including the FBI. In an effort to be sure nothing has been missed they have just brought in new investigators to provide a new set of eyes and to re-interview potential witnesses. This is common practice in missing persons' cases that are not quickly solved.
    The TBI has been criticized for not releasing more information to the public. Information, they say, that could damage the integrity of their investigation.
    It is common practice for officials to withhold certain pieces of information in missing persons' cases. They are the professionals, they know what should and should not be released. Certain information they have may only be known by the abductor or those who are privvy to information about the abduction.
    Releasing too much information only serves to muddy the waters when officials are performing interviews with potential witnesses. 
    The TBI said tips are still called in daily and up to 10 agents are assigned exclusively to Holly’s case at any given time.
    TBI issues warning to the public
    The TBI is warning those who are trying to help to steer clear of websites and well-wishers who imply they are assisting in the investigation because agents say they’re not. Tips, the TBI said, should only be sent to them at 800-TBI-FIND.
    WBBJ 7 Eyewitness News flashed “Tony Calabrese: False Leads” on the screen. The TBI has warned the public that Calabrese is not working with them or the FBI, and that instead he has interfered with their investigation.
    If people really want to help Holly’s family, and help bring Holly home, they will stop spreading rumors and start sharing information that will help bring her home.
    Holly's family won't stop looking for her until she's found
    This family has spent the past 10 weeks agonizing over Holly’s abduction. They need answers - they need Holly back home with them. They continue holding onto the hope that Holly is still alive.
    Clint said, “I’m getting by day-by-day. I’m doing OK.” He wears pink bracelets around both wrists to keep his sister close at all times. “It’s my new normal. I wear these because this is my life now. This is what I do.”
    Clint is referring to the time he spends out in the woods with his father, Dana Bobo, searching for Holly.
    Dana said, “We get a little sleep and do a lot of searching.”
    Not a moment goes by that the family is not thinking about Holly or doing something to help bring her home.
    Dana had to return to work several weeks ago but that isn’t stopping him from searching for his daughter. He and Clint go out into the woods evenings and weekends hoping to find something that’s been missed.
    Karen, Holly’s mom, is overtaken with grief and pain and says she has to keep a photo of Holly close at all times.  During her initial interview, Karen had said, “We love her so much. You just don’t know, she’s just so precious.”
    Holly is the 20-year-old nursing student who was abducted from outside the Bobo’s Darden, Tennessee family home around 7:30 a.m. on April 13.
    Clint was awakened by a dog barking. He went to the window and saw Holly being led into the woods by a man dressed in camouflage clothing. He believed the man was Holly’s boyfriend.
    It wasn’t until Clint went outside a short time later and saw blood on the ground that he became alarmed and called 911. Within moments, law enforcement was on the scene and by the end of the day Decatur County Sheriff Roy Wyatt said some 150 local, state, and federal officials were working on Holly’s case.
    There is currently an $85,000 reward for the return of Holly Bobo and the arrest of her abductor. If you have any information that could help investigators you’re asked to call the TBI hotline at 1-800-TBI-FIND.
    More on this story:
    Click here for details on Holly’s abduction and links to articles about Holly’s case written by this National Missing Persons news writer.

    Search For Duesterhaus 'Still Very Much A Missing Persons Case'

    Update: Fairfax County Police Say Duesterhaus Was Distraught When He Disappeared
    Fairfax County Police search for Vienna native, O'Connell teacher 'Still Very Much A Missing Persons Case'
    By Erica R. Hendry

    Update 5:34 pm: Fairfax County Police say Tom Duesterhaus was distraught when he was last seen in the Virginia Beach area on Saturday, and there's concern for his well-being.
    Lucy Caldwell, a spokeswoman for the department, said both Duesterhaus and his car were entered into the National Crime Information Center, a computerized index of crime information available to departments across the country, earlier today.
    Duesterhaus, 37,  who lives in McLean, is white, 6 foot 3 inches tall and 190 pounds. He has blond hair and green eyes.
    Original: Search For Duesterhaus 'Still Very Much A Missing Persons Case'

    Fairfax County Police are leading the search for Vienna native and Bishop O'Connell High School English teacher Tom Duesterhaus, who has been missing since Saturday.
    "This is still very much a missing persons case," Officer Bud Walker said.
    The search is focused in Virginia Beach, Walker said, where Duesterhaus was last seen. He was scheduled to attend a four-day retreat there starting Monday, friends said.
    Police could not confirm where exactly Duesterhaus was last seen, or, if any of his belongings have been recovered. But they said they have not located his car, and don't consider it to be stolen.
    "If people see him, they need to give us a call. Or if you know where he is, tell him, 'People think you're missing. You need to call your family,'" Walker said. 
    Mike Nelson used to room with Duesterhaus and both were members of the McLean-based Youth Apostles group. Nelson said he had lost touch with Duesterhaus over the past few months — but that this kind of disappearance is unusual for the community-oriented teacher, son, brother and friend.
    "It is definitely out of character for him to go days without contacting anyone," Nelson said.
    Nelson said Wednesday that Duesterhaus was last seen driving his 1999 blue Buick LeSabre, with Virginia plates  XMT-8126.
    Police said "Duesterhaus has been known to frequent parks and shelters."
    Anyone with information should contact Detective Chris Flanagan at 703-246-7860 or the Fairfax County Police Department at 703-691-2131 or Crime Solvers at 1-866-411-TIPS.

    Wednesday, June 22, 2011

    Women Scammed Good Samaritans?

    Tiffany Lyon And Chasity Doll Arrested For Dead Baby Funeral Scam In California

    A phony story about a dead baby got two California women plenty of sympathy and more than $600. But it also earned them a number of criminal charges.
    Cops in Modesto busted Tiffany Lyon, 27, and Chasity Doll, 20, for allegedly begging motorists for money to help pay for a made-up funeral for a non-existent baby boy.
    The duo had been standing on busy corners on Saturday with a sign asking for "Funeral Donations" for a child named Justin Michael Farrell, police told CBS 13.
    Police officers confronted the women when they saw the duo dash onto the roadway to collect cash.
    The cops reportedly warned the pair that they were creating a traffic hazard and let them go. But as they drove away, the officers claim the women ignored their orders.
    So the cops returned and began asking questions about the child.
    Lyon claimed the baby was hers and that Doll was her sister, according to The New York Daily News. The women allegedly stated that the baby died from a heart condition while they were in Modesto on vacation on June 6.
    But when the pair were unable to answer questions about where the child was born, where the child died and the doctor who treated the boy, officers became suspicious.
    After a call to the coroner confirmed that no baby named Justin Michael Ferrell had perished in the Modesto area, the women reportedly admitted the baby wasn't real and that the photo of a smiling child on their poster had been pulled off the internet.
    Lyon and Doll have been charged with taking money under false pretenses and conspiring to defraud the public.
    Police plan to give the cash they raised to charity.

    Tuesday, June 21, 2011

    Search For Missing Woman's Remains Resumes

    Search For Missing Woman's Remains Resumes

    Investigators Say Information Led Them To Canal To Find Lynda Meier's Remains

    Investigators from several police agencies, including the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, resumed their search of the Snake Creek Canal in Miami Gardens Tuesday for evidence in the case of a South Florida woman missing for more than a year.
    The canal is located at Northwest 41st Street and 207th Avenue.

    According to investigators, the search is in connection with the disappearance of Lynda Robin Meier. A source told Local 10's Jeff Weinsier that they are looking for Meier's remains. Special cadaver dogs were brought in to help in the search.
    "Leads, as well as evidence and intelligence and new information has led us to this location to conduct a search for the remains of Lynda Meier," said Chief Dwayne Flournoy of Hallandale Beach Police.
    "The information that led us here has been developed ever since Lynda Meier disappeared," said Special William Arnone of the FDLE. "It's been bits and pieces that have been put together that suggest we come here and do what we're doing."
    "We have located some areas of interest that we're going to look into further," Flournoy said. "I'm confident that we will solve this case."
    Investigators also say they have new information, but they won't say what it is.
    The 40-year-old woman was last seen as she left her home in the 1800 block of South Ocean Drive in Hallandale Beach on June 4, 2010.
    The next day, police said two unidentified women used Meier's Mastercard at a Walmart store in the 5800 block of Northwest 177th Street in Miami Lakes.
    Police said that Dallas King and Antwan Kennedy remain the main suspects Meier's disappearance.
    Last Thursday, Hallandale Beach police released some new specifics in the case, confirming that on June 4, 2010, the morning Meier was last seen, King was in possession of her credit cards and gave them to two women, who investigators said were caught using them at the Walmart.
    Police say information they received during their investigation led them to the canal.
    King told police the credit cards were given to them by Kennedy, who has been romantically linked to Meier.
    Kennedy told Local 10 he did have a conversation with Meier the morning she disappeared, but he said he has no idea where she is or what happened to her.
    Police said they do not believe Meier is alive, but they have not found her body.
    "I learned yesterday on the news that they were searching possibly for her remains and I fell apart," Meier's friend, Sharon Moses-Solano, told Local 10's Kelly Butler on Tuesday.
    She said she was hopeful that Meier would be found alive, but now that hope has faded.
    "Nobody can ever prepare you for horrible news. I can't believe that this has hit home," she said.
    Moses-Solano says the last year without her close friend has been painful.
    "I think of her all the time," she said. "Where could she be? Who could have hurt her?"
    Investigators say it will take about a week to search the area.
    So far, no evidence has been found.

    Man Robs Bank for $1 for Health Care

    James Verone Robs Bank For Jail Health Care

    James Verone said he walked up to a teller at a Gastonia, N.C. bank and handed her a note.
    It said "This is a bank robbery, please only give me one dollar." Verone then told the teller he'd be sitting in a nearby chair, waiting for the police.
    The 59-year-old said he did everything he could to get caught so he could receive free health care in jail.
    Verone has a growth on his chest, two ruptured disks and a problem with his left foot. With no job, Verone thought his desperate plan was the best way to provide for himself.
    Courtney Boyd Myers at The Next Web notes Verone's plot provides clear evidence of a flawed medical system.
    "As his fellow American, I have to say, our national health care is in a very sad state," Myers writes.
    Though Verone said he's receiving good care in jail, Slate previously reported that health care in prison is at best as good as a low-income health plan and at worst, almost nonexistent.
    The majority of ailments are treated on-site, but inmates who are gravely ill can be taken to the nearest hospital. Sick prisoners must make a nominal co-payment for each visit to the jailhouse doctor—usually $5 or so, taken from an hourly wage that typically runs between 19 cents and 40 cents an hour. Costs above that are covered by the state.
    It's been more then a year since President Obama signed landmark health care reform legislation.The bill was designed to provide health insurance to millions of Americans who currently lack it. But one year later, the number of uninsured remains roughly the same. That's largely because most of the bill's major elements aren't due to be implemented for another three years.
    This month, Republican governors fought against federal rules requiring states to maintain current levels of health-care coverage for the poor and disabled.
    There is also an effort, spearheaded by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin) to change Medicare from a government run program to a voucher system. Critics of the plan said it would mean seniors would have to pay more out of pocket for care.
    Late last week, AARP, a powerful lobbying group for older Americans, said it was open to cuts in Social Security benefits.
    Verone's plan was to go to jail for three years, then be released in time to start collecting Social Security.

    Monday, June 20, 2011

    Michelle Le Search Ends with No Results

    Michelle Le Search Ends with No Results

    Michelle Le, a nursing student missing from Hayward, California, remains missing as volunteers searched this weekend for clues to her whereabouts. The 20-something student vanished, leaving behind little evidence that investigators can release to the public. Much like the disappearance of nursing student Holly Bobo, this missing persons case has proven to be mysterious and confusing.

    This weekend, friends and family of Michelle Le organized a massive volunteer search party that encompassed a wide area of land in and around Alameda County, California. Although the searchers found nothing leading them to clues about the girl's disappearance, a lot of land was covered and a lot of manpower was involved.
    Among some high-profile supporters of the volunteer search this weekend were:
    It was an emotional couple of days that no doubt ended in disappointment and heavy hearts, but the family of Michelle Le still believe that she is alive somewhere. On the contrary, investigators on the case insist that this is a homicide investigation due to some of the evidence found early in the woman's disappearance.
    Currently, there are a few persons of interest, but no suspects. Among the several persons of interest is one woman whom police have kept close watch on, and have interviewed more than once. Giselle Esteban claims to openly hate Michelle Le, although she says she had nothing to do with her disappearance.
    Esteban is the ex-girlfriend of a man whom Michelle Le was either seeing or was close friends with. The young man hasn't commented on the nature of their relationship, but has sought continuation of a restraining order he had previously gotten on Giselle Esteban because she's apparently a bit of a creeper. (Click the link for lolz.)
    Hopefully, something is done soon about this disappearance. Police haven't located Michelle Le, or her body since they alleged that this is a homicide investigation. It's currently Father's Day, and Michelle's father had to travel from across the globe to come find his missing child. This, like with the family of Lauren Spierer, is not any way to spend this holiday. May closure be found soon.