Japanese Police Fooled By Lifesized Doll in Dead Body Hoax

September 2, 2008


Police were trying to determine Tuesday whether they were the victim of a hoax after the body they thought they found at a seaside resort was actually a life-sized doll.

Investigators found what seemed like a body wrapped in a sleeping bag in a forest in Izu City, a seaside resort in central Japan, after an anonymous caller reported seeing it, a Shizuoka prefecture spokeswoman said on condition of anonymity, citing department policy.

Investigators never actually looked inside the sleeping bag and brought it back to the city police station for a post-mortem examination, the spokeswoman said. Apparently no one doubted a human body was inside until a medical examiner unwrapped it and found the doll, she said.

The Asahi newspaper said the doll was sophisticated and life-sized and wore a brown wig, a blouse and a skirt.

*** Above photo not directly related to article

Article by Mari Yamaguchi

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Man Charged For Stabbing and Beheading Fellow Bus Passenger

August 1, 2008

A 40-year-old man who witnesses said stabbed and beheaded the man sitting next to him on a Greyhound bus in Canada has been charged with second-degree murder, police said Friday.

Vince Weiguang Li, of Edmonton, Alberta, was due to appear in court later Friday, said Sgt. Brian Edmonds.

Authorities have not released the victim’s name but The Canadian Press said friends had identified him as Tim McLean, a 22-year-old carnival worker.

William Caron, 23, said McLean was quiet, though he liked to socialize with friends. He was small – about 5-foot-4 and 130 pounds – and tended stayed away from a fight, Caron said.

“From what I hear, this other guy is three times his size,” Caron said. “All the time I’ve known Tim, he’s never been the type of guy to get into a fight with. He always kept to himself when there’s strangers around.”

Witnesses said the victim was stabbed dozens of times in the Wednesday night attack aboard the bus as it traveled a desolate stretch of the TransCanada Highway about 12 miles from Portage La Prairie, Manitoba.

They said the attacker then severed his seat mate’s head, displayed it and then began cutting up the body.

Garnet Caton, who was sitting just one seat in front of them, said the suspect had been on the bus about an hour. He initially did not sit near the victim but changed seats after a rest stop. Caton said he did not hear the two speak to each other before the attack.

“We heard this bloodcurdling scream and turned around, and the guy was standing up, stabbing this guy repeatedly,” Caton said.

Caton said the driver stopped the bus when he became aware of the attack and passengers raced off. A short while later, Caton said he re-boarded along with the bus driver and a trucker who had stopped to see what was happening.

He said the suspect had the victim on the floor of the bus and “was cutting his head off” with a large hunting knife.

“When he was attacking him, he was calm,” said Caton. “There was no rage or anything. He was just like a robot stabbing the guy.”

The attacker turned toward them and the three men quickly left the bus, blocking the door as the attacker slashed at them through an opening. Caton said the driver disabled the vehicle after the attacker tried to drive it away.

As the three guarded the door with a crow bar and a hammer, the attacker went back to the body and calmly came to the front of the bus to show off the head, Caton said.

Greyhound spokeswoman Abby Wambaugh said there had been 37 passengers aboard, many watching a movie when the violence erupted. She called the attack tragic but isolated.

* Thanks to YouTube for providing witness video.

The follow-up story can be read here

Article by Rob Gillies
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Brazilian Confesses To Killing and Dismembering Girlfriend

August 1, 2008

Police on Thursday accused a Brazilian man of killing and dismembering his 17-year-old British girlfriend, taking pictures of her body parts with his cell phone and stuffing her torso in a suitcase.

Officers found the suitcase with the torso of Cara Marie Burke at the edge of a river Monday in this central Brazilian city, Goias state police inspector Jorge Moreira da Silva said.

Burke’s boyfriend, Mohamed D’Ali Carvalho Santos, 20, was arrested and charged with homicide Thursday after “he confessed he cut her up and even photographed the body on his cellular phone,” Silva said.

One photo appeared to have been taken in a bathroom shower stall, showing Burke’s severed head placed on the chest of her torso along with a bloody butcher knife.

Silva said Santos confessed he killed Burke because she threatened to tell his parents he was a drug dealer addicted to cocaine, and she was considering turning him in to police.

After fatally stabbing Burke on Saturday, Santos left her body in the bathroom and went to a party, returning to dismember her the next day, the police inspector said.

Burke’s family in England identified her from a tattoo that said “Mum” after images of the body were broadcast on TV, Silva said.

Burke met Santos in London, where his mother lives, Silva said. She had been in Brazil for about three months.

Police were still searching Thursday for Burke’s head and limbs, which Santos said he hid in a rural area outside town. Taken out of his cell in handcuffs to be filmed by television crews, he held his head down and said nothing.

Karine Neves, a spokeswoman for the British Embassy in Brasilia, said a British vice consul is in Goiania tracking the case and the police investigation.

Burke’s online acquaintances demanded justice in messages they posted on her Web page on Orkut, an online social networking community hugely popular in Brazil.

The page also featured pictures of the blond teenager posing with friends in London and Brazil and holding a baby in her arms.

Article by Marco Sibaja

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Cop Fired After Threatening Starbucks Employees

July 18, 2008

An internal affairs report says a Daytona Beach police officer, Lt. Major Garvin, a 15-year veteran, demanded free coffee and tea from a Starbucks and threatened employees with slower emergency response times if they refused. He was fired July 8 after failing a polygraph test Garvin had insisted on taking.

The coffeehouse’s employees claim that since June 2007, Garvin had visited the store as many as six times a night while on duty. Besides demanding free drinks, workers complained that Garvin also cut in front of paying customers.

No more coffee donuts for that mannerless cop.

***Editor’s note: The above photo is NOT Lt. Major Garvin

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Mexican Police Torture Video Causes Uproar

July 2, 2008


Videos showing Leon police practicing torture techniques on a fellow officer and dragging another through vomit at the instruction of a U.S. adviser created an uproar Tuesday in Mexico, which has struggled to eliminate torture in law enforcement.

Two of the videos – broadcast by national television networks and displayed on newspaper Internet sites – showed what Leon city Police Chief Carlos Tornero described as training for an elite unit that must face “real-life, high-stress situations,” such as kidnapping and torture by organized crime groups.

But many Mexicans saw a sinister side, especially at a moment when police and soldiers across the country are struggling with scandals over alleged abuses.

“They are teaching police … to torture!” read the headline in the Mexico City newspaper Reforma.

Human rights investigators in Guanajuato state, where Leon is located, are looking into the tapes, and the National Human Rights Commission also expressed concerned.

“It’s very worrisome that there may be training courses that teach people to torture,” said Raul Plascencia, one of the commission’s top inspectors.

One of the videos, first obtained by the newspaper El Heraldo de Leon, shows police appearing to squirt water up a man’s nose – a technique once notorious among Mexican police. Then they dunk his head in a hole said to be full of excrement and rats. The man gasps for air and moans repeatedly.

In another video, an unidentified English-speaking trainer has an exhausted agent roll into his own vomit. Other officers then drag him through the mess.

“These are no more than training exercises for certain situations, but I want to stress that we are not showing people how to use these methods,” Tornero said.

He said the English-speaking man was part of a private U.S. security company helping to train the agents, but he refused to give details.

A third video transmitted by the Televisa network showed officers jumping on the ribs of a suspect curled into a fetal position in the bed of a pickup truck. Tornero said that the case, which occurred several months earlier, was under investigation and that the officers involved had disappeared.

Mexican police often find themselves in the midst of brutal battles between drug gangs. Officials say that 450 police, soldiers and prosecutors have lost their lives in the fight against organized crime since December 2006.

At the same time, several recent high-profile scandals over alleged thuggery and ineptness have reignited criticisms of police conduct. In Mexico City last month, 12 people died in a botched police raid on a disco.

The National Human Rights Commission has documented 634 cases of military abuse since President Felipe Calderon sent more than 20,000 soldiers across the nation to battle drug gangs.

And $400 million in drug-war aid for Mexico that was just signed into law by President George W. Bush doesn’t require the U.S. to independently verify that the military has cleaned up its fight, as many American lawmakers and Mexican human rights groups had insisted.

The videos may seem shocking, but training police to withstand being captured is not unusual, said Robert McCue, the director of the private, U.S. firm IES Interactive Training, which provides computer-based training systems in Mexico.

“With the attacks on police and security forces in Mexico that have increased due to the drug cartel wars, I’m not surprised to see this specialized kind of training in resisting and surviving captivity and torture,” he said.

Originally found @ AssociatedPress.com

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Woman Drives Cadillac Into Store To Get Six Pack

July 1, 2008

74-year-old Lynne Rice of Norwalk drove her 1988 Cadillac into Joe’s Food Mart and Video then tried to buy a six-pack of Budweiser, according to police and the owner of the shop. The car plowed about halfway through the store but nobody was injured. Rice got out of the car, walked over to the cooler and pulled out a six-pack of Budweiser beer.

“I don’t know how she managed to walk,” the store ownder,Awada said. He added that a cashier declined the sale and instead called police. Rice was then taken to a hospital for examination because she had a pre-existing medical condition, according to police.

Later, she was also arrested for investigation of misdemeanor driving under the influence and released on $15,000 bail. Awada said the crash destroyed two 6-foot-wide glass panels. Damage was estimated to be approximately $8,000.

(The above photo is NOT from the scene)

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Guilty of Murder By SUV and Train

June 27, 2008


A man who claimed he was attempting suicide when he triggered a 2005 rail disaster was convicted Thursday of 11 counts of first-degree murder and could face the death penalty.

Two commuter trains collided into a tangled mass of smoking wreckage littered with victims after Juan Alvarez left a gasoline-drenched sport-utility vehicle on railroad tracks in Glendale, northeast of downtown Los Angeles.

Alvarez, 29, looked on stolidly as the Superior Court jury returned its guilty verdicts for the murders and one count of arson. The jury also agreed there was a special circumstance of multiple murders – making Alvarez eligible for the death penalty – but it acquitted him of a charge called train wrecking.

Jurors were ordered to return for the start of the penalty phase on July 7.

Alvarez had pleaded not guilty. He admitted causing the Jan. 26, 2005, disaster but claimed he had intended to kill himself, then changed his mind and was unable to get the SUV off the tracks.

A fast-moving Metrolink train struck the vehicle, derailed and struck another Metrolink train heading in the opposite direction and a parked freight train. In addition to the 11 deaths, about 180 people were injured.

Prosecutors denounced his claim of being suicidal as a lie and said he was trying to cause a calamity to get the attention of his estranged wife. Prosecutors said he started out that day with thoughts of killing his wife and then killed the rail passengers because she wasn’t available.

The derailment created a horrific scene of mangled rail cars. Workers from nearby businesses scrambled to rescue the injured before firefighters reached the scene.

As he lay injured in the wreck, John Phipps used his own blood to scrawl what he thought would be his last words to his wife and children: “I (heart symbol) my kids. I (heart symbol) Leslie.” He survived.

According to trial testimony, Alvarez fled the vehicle, left the scene and went to a friend’s house, where he stabbed himself with scissors. Alvarez testified he did not remember stabbing himself but did remember being in a hospital with puncture wounds.

The verdict relieved relatives of the dead.

Alberto Romero said he is reminded of his uncle Leonardo Romero’s death every day because Metrolink commuter trains run past his machine shop. Teresa Nance, whose mother, Elizabeth Hill, was killed, said that as the trial began she had nightmares of being in the train with her.

Neither Romero nor Nance, however, thought it was necessary for Alvarez to be executed.

“He needs to think about this every day of his life,” said Alberto Romero, 45, of Rancho Cucamonga.

Nance, 40, of Reseda, said a death sentence could end up being a life sentence anyway because of appeals. “He’s not going to get off, he’s not going to get out,” she said.

The defense painted Alvarez as a mentally ill victim of childhood abuse who became a drug addict. The prosecution called him a pathological liar whose claim of mental illness was a manipulative tactic.

Separately, the derailment led to a debate about the practice of running Metrolink trains in reverse, with the heavy engine at the rear being controlled from the other end by an operator in what is called a cab car.

Critics contended that the train wouldn’t have derailed if the heavy engine had struck the SUV. The railroad defends the practice.

Originally found @ AssociatedPress.com

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Another Taser Death at the Hands of Canadian Police

June 24, 2008


Ontario’s Special Investigations Unit is looking into the death of a man who collapsed after a confrontation in which police officers used a Taser on him after they responded to a call about a man causing a disturbance in southwestern Ontario’s Norfolk County.

According to a statement from John Yoannou, the spokesman for the Special Investigations Unit, the officers were confronted by Jeffrey Mark Marreel, who seem combative.

In order to subdue Marreel and take him into custody, a taser was used. He was then transported to the Simcoe, Ontario provincial Police Station. Upon his arrival at the station, Marreel collapsed and was pronounced dead sometime later at Norfolk General Hospital. Marreel was 36 years old.

Yoannou said an autopsy will be conducted Tuesday.

The incident occurred only days after the Royal Canadian Mounted Police announced it would restrict Taser use significantly.

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Busted in Mineola: Feeding Kids Pills and Forcing Sex Shows

June 22, 2008

In the windowless front rooms of a former day care center in a tiny Texas community, children as young as 5 were fed powerful painkillers they knew as “silly pills” and forced to perform sex shows for a crowd of adults.
Two people have already been convicted in the case. Now a third person with ties to the club, previously known in town only as a swingers group, is set to go on trial Monday not far from Mineola, population 5,100.

“This really shook this town,” said Shirley Chadwick, a longtime resident of Mineola. “This was horrible.”

Patrick Kelly, 41, is charged with aggravated sexual assault of a child, tampering with physical evidence and engaging in organized criminal activity.

In all, six adults have been charged in connection with the case, including a parent of the three siblings involved.

Jurors this year deliberated less than five minutes before returning guilty verdicts against the first two defendants, who were accused of grooming the kids for sex shows in “kindergarten” classes and passing off Vicodin as “silly pills” to help the children perform.

Jamie Pittman and Shauntel Mayo were sentenced to life in prison. Kelly also faces a life sentence if convicted, and Smith County prosecutors hope for another swift verdict.

Thad Davidson, Kelly’s attorney, said his client passed a lie-detector test proving his innocence and worries about getting a fair trial in Tyler, 25 miles southeast of Mineola, which is in Wood County.

“I think it’s impossible to get a fair trial within 80 miles of Smith County,” Davidson said.

Mineola, about 80 miles east of Dallas, is a close-knit, conservative bean-processing town of with more than 30 churches. Residents there want to put the scandal behind them as quickly as possible.

The one-story building where prosecutors say four children – the three siblings, now ages 12, 10 and 7, and their 10-year-old aunt – were trained to perform in front of an audience of 50 to 100 once a week has been vacant since the landlord ousted the alleged organizers in 2004.

Down a slight hill is a retirement home, and even closer is the office of the local newspaper. Doris Newman, editor of The Mineola Monitor, said rumors of swinger parties spread around town but that no one mentioned children being involved.

Newman, who can see the building from her office window, said she remembers the parking lot filling up with more than a dozen cars at night.

In August 2004, an editorial under the headline “Sex In the City” opined that if the swingers left quietly, “we’ll try and forget they’ve infiltrated our town with their set of moral standards.”

“It’s not that we’re trying to look the other way,” Newman said. “But there’s a lot more to Mineola than that.”

According to a Mineola police report, the department first investigated a complaint in June 2005 in which the siblings’ foster mother said one of the girls described dancing toward men and another child saying that “everybody does nasty stuff in there.”

In the second trial, Child Protective Services caseworker Kristi Hachtel testified, “I’ve seen a lot and I never in my wildest dreams imagined this. They were preyed upon in probably one of the most heinous ways possible.”

The children are now doing better, the welfare agency said.

“Through counseling and therapy sessions, these children are now finally feeling secure and safe,” agency spokeswoman Shari Pulliam wrote in an e-mail.

Permanent custody of the three siblings was given to John and Margie Cantrell. This week, prosecutors in California charged John Cantrell with sexually assaulting a child in the state 18 years ago. Margie Cantrell said her husband is innocent.

Kelly’s attorney moved Friday asking to postpone the trial in light of the allegations against Cantrell, a state witness. Texas Child Protective Services said it would be “common” for the agency to investigate.

The Rev. Tim Letsch is opening a church in the yellow-plastered building where the children were abused. He acknowledges that building a congregation might be difficult because of the stigma attached to the property.

“You got to decide whether you’re willing to forgive those kind of things,” Letsch said. “It’s a hard deal. Especially for a spiritual person to walk in and say, ‘This happened here.'”

Origally posted @ AssociatedPress.com

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Six Severed Feet Found in Eleven Months

June 18, 2008

A severed foot — the sixth in 11 months — washed up on the shore of a Canadian island on Wednesday, police said.

The right foot was found by a local woman walking on the beach, said Sgt. Mike Tresoor of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in the town of Campbell River on Vancouver Island, British Columbia.

“A local citizen walking on a beach in Tyee Spit located what appears to be human remains of a right foot in an approximate size 10 black Adidas running shoe,” police said in a written statement.

The foot will be examined by a forensic pathologist and DNA testing will be requested, said the statement, posted on the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Web site.

Sandra Malone, manager of the Thunderbird RV Park and Campground on the spit, said a woman came in about 10:30 a.m. and asked her to call police, saying she had found the shoe with the foot inside it.

While waiting for police, Malone told CNN she walked down to the beach with the woman and saw it for herself.

“You could see the foot that’s inside the running shoe,” she said. “The leg bones were coming out of the running shoe about 3 to 4 inches. There were no tissues or anything attached.”

She said seaweed was wrapped around the top of the running shoe, making it hard to tell whether any tissue was inside the shoe. “I got close enough,” she said.

But she said the foot appeared to have been deliberately severed, as the bones “had been cut clean across.”

The foot was the sixth discovered on shorelines in the area since August, according to local police and media reports. Another foot — a severed left foot still in a shoe — was found Monday on the shore of Westham Island, south of Vancouver. Police said it was taken to a coroner for DNA testing.

“Our first step is to establish identity,” said Constable Sharlene Brooks of the Delta Police Department in British Columbia. “It is a little mysterious, but we don’t know if it is linked to others.”

The Vancouver Sun newspaper said the first four feet found in the area were all right feet, making the foot found Monday the only left foot.

Although the gruesome finds have drawn international attention, police said it may take some time to unravel the mystery.

“We suffer from the CSI effect — people think this can happen very quickly,” Brooks said. ” It could take weeks or months. And even if we get a DNA sample, we need a sample to match it with.”

The mystery has caused a stir and led to many rumors, locals say. One newspaper has began investigating a rash of young men who have gone missing in the area.

Some have wondered if the feet could belong to five men who were in a plane that crashed three years ago in the waterway where the feet were found.

Some of those men’s relatives were at the Campbell River site on Wednesday.

“It’s a constant reminder every time, from the time the first foot washed up,” said Kirsten Stevens, whose husband, Dave, died in the crash. Although her husband’s body was located, Stevens said the other men’s relatives still are awaiting answers. They never recovered their loved ones’ remains.

“It reopens the wound, every single time,” she said.

“If it’s not us, it’s somebody else’s loved one, that they don’t know. … We’d like to know,” Sally Feast, sister of pilot Arnold Feast. “We’d like to put something to rest.”

Diane Selkirk, a freelance writer who lives near where one foot was found, said the discoveries have been a hot topic of conversation.
“At first the talk about it was really humorous but as more feet turned up the talk became sinister,” she added. “These are pristine islands, not the place where you would expect to find a bunch of severed feet.”

Originally found @ CNN.com

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