Archive for June, 2010

Bullhead City Couple Arrested After Their Newborn Baby Dies From “Brutal” Sexual Attack

Posted in News, Parents Behaving Badly with tags , , , , , , , , on June 21, 2010 by punauni


A Bullhead City couple was arrested yesterday after their 1-month-old baby died as a result of what police are calling a “brutal sexual assault.”

Bullhead City police spokeswoman Emily Montague tells New Times police believe the baby was “raped” by his parents, 19-year-old Staci Lynn Barbosa and 23-year-old Jonathan Edward Vandergriff.

Montague — for good reason — wouldn’t go into detail about the sexual attack but says authorities believe both Barbosa and Vandergriff were involved in raping their one-month-old son.

According to police, at 11:20 a.m. yesterday, police were called to Western Arizona Regional Medical Center’s Emergency Room where a baby was “fighting for his life.”

Police say they saw bruises and sores all over the baby’s body and his eyes were red and swollen shut.

Doctors then told police the baby had several broken ribs, a broken femur, was malnourished, dehydrated, and showed signs of sexual abuse and shaken baby syndrome.

The baby was airlifted to Sunrise Hospital in Las Vegas — the closest hospital with a trauma center, according to Montague — and Barbosa, who brought the one-month-old to the hospital, was immediately taken into custody.

Doctors were not able to save the baby and he died early this morning.

Vandergriff turned himself into authorities yesterday and police served a search warrant at the house where the couple had been living, which turned up marijuana and other items of “evidentiary value.”

Vandergriff and Barbosa were arrested for molestation of a child, child abuse, aggravated assault, and sexual conduct with a minor.

Police say more charges are on the horizon for the two, including murder. Both parents were booked into the Mohave County Jail in Kingman where Vandergriff is being held on a $500,000 bond and Barbosa’s bail was set at $250,000.


Baby dies of injuries from beating

Posted in News, Parents Behaving Badly with tags , , , , on June 21, 2010 by punauni

Darwin Costello, the 4-month-old boy police say was beaten and strangled by his father earlier this week, died from his injuries at about 8:30 p.m. Thursday, according to the Lee County Sheriff’s Office.

The infant, who had been declared brain dead, spent the past four days on life support at All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg after suffering massive head trauma, internal bleeding and broken bones. The medical examiner will release an official cause of death in the coming weeks, according to sheriff’s spokesman John Sheehan.

As a result of the baby’s death, Ryan Costello, 31, the child’s father, is now charged with first-degree murder, Sheehan said in a statement.

Because of the victim’s age and nature of the crime, the charge qualifies as a capital felony, making Costello eligible for the death sentence, according to Sheehan.

“It was a very difficult afternoon for the family,” said Charles Costello, Ryan’s uncle, “but the family was able to be with Darwin.

“The family members that were there, including his grandparents, were able to kiss Darwin goodbye and hold him for a while,” he said.

“Darwin went to a better place, not quite so painful as the one he’s leaving,” Charles Costello said.

The focus now, he said, is on getting Kingston — Ryan Costello’s oldest son — out of foster care and with his grandparents.

As for the murder charge against his nephew, Charles Costello said, “They can have him.”

“Any human being that would raise two infants in a grow house surrounded by drugs and chemicals and jury-rigged electrical lighting — how can you care what happens to somebody like that?” Charles Costello said. “It’s just unbelievable that you would raise children in that kind of environment.”

According to sheriff’s investigators, Ryan Costello confessed to beating Darwin earlier this week during a taped conversation in an interrogation room between him and Whitney Simonsen, 24, his live-in girlfriend and Darwin’s mother.

“I killed my kid,” he told Simonsen before calling himself a murderer.

Louisville police find meth lab in kids’ bedroom

Posted in News, People Behaving Badly with tags , , , on June 21, 2010 by punauni

LOUISVILLE, Ky.  — At least three Louisville residents were arrested over the weekend after police say they found a meth lab in a home where at least four children were present.

The meth lab was allegedly in the children’s bed room.

38-year-old Denise Haynes, 48-year-old Tommy Harris and 29-year-old Bobbie Nelson were arrested late Friday night after police arrived at a home in the 9100 block of Lantana Drive, near Okolona on a report of a possible meth lab.

According to police reports obtained by Fox 41 News, officers got permission to search the home and found methamphetamine packaged for sale. They also discovered digital scales, meth pipes, pills, a gas generator and a “snort straw,” among other items.

When representatives of the Health Department arrived on the scene, they swabbed the wall of the kids’ room and it tested positive for meth residue.

Two children were at the home when police arrived. At least two additional children were believed to be in the home earlier.

Haynes, Nelson and Harris are each charged with manufacturing meth, possession of a controlled substance, trafficking in a controlled substance, possession of drug paraphernalia and four counts each of controlled substance endangerment to a child.

Baby Left In Walmart Shopping Cart

Posted in Connecticut, News with tags , on June 21, 2010 by punauni

CROMWELL, Conn. — A Cromwell couple was arrested after police said they left their 7-month-old child alone in a Walmart shopping carts for about 30 minutes.Officers were called to the Walmart on Berlin Road in Cromwell Friday evening after employees were alerted to an unattended baby in a shopping cart.After waiting several minutes for the child’s parents to show up, police said the manager took the child to the office and contacted police.Investigators said the infant had been left unattended for 30 minutes while the parents were shopping because each believed the other parent was watching the child.Eulalio and Maria Aguilar were charged with leaving a child unsupervised and released on $500 bonds. They are scheduled to appear in court on June 29.

100 Dead Cats Found In Nonfunctioning Freezer

Posted in News, People Behaving Badly with tags on June 21, 2010 by punauni

BLACK RIVER FALLS, Wis. — Social services has removed three children from a home in Jackson County where 100 dead cats were found in a nonfunctioning freezer. Sheriff Duane Waldera said filthy conditions and feces from another 17 live cats caused deputies to determine the house was unlivable. Gabriella Bernabei said authorities are targeting her and her boyfriend because of their Wiccan religious beliefs. Bernabei said the cats were kept in the garage freezer because she planned to bury them. She said she was properly storing the carcasses until she could get to the burials. The live cats were taken to the Jackson County Animal Shelter. Animal control officer Barb Pfaff said some were too sick to save.

NY Jail Guard Kills Ex-Girlfriend, Uncle

Posted in News, People Behaving Badly with tags , on June 16, 2010 by punauni

EAST MEADOW, N.Y. — An off-duty jail guard shot and killed her former girlfriend outside a hospital, then went to a relative’s nearby home, where she killed her uncle, wounded her 88-year-old grandfather and took a niece hostage, police said Wednesday. Kim Wolfe, 43, also was briefly hospitalized after she complained of difficulty breathing but was later released back into police custody. She is suspected of fatally shooting Stacie Williams, a 45-year-old maternity ward nurse’s aide at the Nassau University Medical Center, sometime after 1 a.m. Wednesday. Wolfe and Williams had been through a “romantic, intimate relationship,” but then split up, police said. They met early Wednesday outside the hospital to discuss a possible reconciliation, but at some point the discussion turned violent and Wolfe opened fire with her 9 mm pistol, striking Williams several times, Nassau County Police Commissioner Lawrence Mulvey said at a news conference. It was not immediately clear how long the couple had been together, nor the reason for their split, Mulvey said. Wolfe then drove to a home 3 1/2 miles away in Hempstead, where police say she began arguing with her grandfather Marshall Williams Sr. Wolfe’s 56-year-old uncle, Michael Williams, tried to intervene and was fatally shot in the chest, police said. Marshall Williams was then shot in the leg, authorities said. Afterward, Wolfe ordered her 23-year-old niece at gunpoint to come with her, Mulvey said. Wolfe and the niece started driving toward Atlantic City, N.J., but made several phone calls back to the Hempstead home during the trip. A Hempstead police officer responding to the shooting picked up one of the calls and then, in consultation with hostage negotiators, persuaded her to return to Hempstead. She was arrested at about 5:45 a.m. Her niece was released unharmed. Wolfe was scheduled to be arraigned Thursday in connection with the shooting rampage. It was not immediately clear whether she had a lawyer; specific charges were to be announced at the arraignment. Stacie Williams, who wasn’t related to Marshall and Michael Williams, worked at the hospital for 23 years, hospital spokeswoman Shelley Lotenberg said. “Our sympathies and prayers go out to the family, friends and colleagues,” she said. Williams was a vibrant person who always had a smile on her face, Civil Service Employees Association President Jerry Larricciuta said in a statement. “We knew Stacie as a hardworking professional who was a wonderful worker, and was a great asset to NUMC,” he said. “Our hearts go out to the families involved in this tragedy. We lost a great health care professional today.” Mulvey described Wolfe’s pistol as her “service weapon” but said it was not clear if she bought it privately or whether it was issued to her as part of her job as a correction officer. A detective noted that guards do not carry weapons while on duty. Wolfe is a correction officer of 19 years who worked the midnight shift supervising inmates at the county jail next to the hospital, said Liz Consolo, a spokeswoman for the Nassau County sheriff’s office. She was not scheduled to work on Wednesday morning, the spokeswoman said. Consolo declined to comment on Wolfe’s disciplinary record or any other details of her employment. Nassau County Police Lt. Kevin Smith said Stacie Williams’ son, who rushed to the hospital after hearing of the shooting, was struck by a car while crossing the street in front of the medical center. The man, Frederick King, refused medical aid at the scene, Smith said.

Man Who Tried to Self-Amputate Arm Stuck in Furnace Thought, ‘What Would MacGyver Do?’

Posted in Connecticut, News with tags , , on June 16, 2010 by punauni

HARTFORD, Conn. — Jonathan Metz had his left arm stuck in his furnace boiler for about 12 hours when he asked himself “what would MacGyver do?” and concluded that amputating the limb was his only chance for survival.

The 31-year-old West Hartford man, who was released from the hospital Monday, met with reporters Tuesday for the first time since getting his arm stuck in his furnace for two days and nearly cutting it off.

Metz, who is right-handed, said when the thought of amputation first crossed his mind he pushed it away. He considered every other option and thought of the resourceful 1980s television character who always found a way to use mundane objects in his surroundings to get himself out of tough situations.

“I definitely dithered for a few hours after coming up with the initial idea,” he said. “I thought there must be some other way, so I kind of started looking around my surroundings again. Maybe there was something I missed. You know, what would MacGyver do if he were here?”

Metz said he spent six hours psyching himself up for the self-amputation. He tried to yank the arm out, he used dirty oil from a catch basin to try to grease it and finally he looked to his tool box, which he had within reach.

His fantasy, he said, was that he could cut off the arm, run upstairs and put it in his freezer, call 911, then go to the hospital and get it reattached.

Metz said he first used a hacksaw blade, then used a larger blade, which he hoped would make the operation go smoother. He nearly succeeded but couldn’t make it through a bundle of nerves.

“I don’t know how many strokes it took,” he said. “But it was quite a few. So yes, every one, I was re-evaluating in some way, was it too late to stop? Or what was the point where there was no going back?”

Metz, who lives alone, revealed Tuesday that the ordeal began after work on Monday night, June 7, not the day before, as doctors previously had said.

He had been trying to clean off the heating vents on his furnace boiler when he dropped either a brush or a Shop-Vac attachment. He was reaching in to retrieve it when his arm became stuck between the funnel-like fins of the boiler.

When he tried to pull it out, the fins tightened on his arm, cutting into it. The more he would struggle, the more it would cut, and the more his arm would swell.

“It very quickly became apparent to me that I had a major problem,” he said. “I basically spent the next 12 hours screaming for help.”

Eventually, he began noticing signs of infection and the smell of rotting flesh, and he starting thinking he had to cut the arm off. Doctors said the partial self-amputation prevented the spread of the infection to the rest of his body and saved his life.

Metz started and stopped a couple times, once when the blood flow became too much. He said he had to use a telephone cord to fashion a second tourniquet, replacing the one he had made with his shirt. He said he used his mouth and neck to pull the cord tight around the arm as he cut.

When he realized he couldn’t get the arm off, he leaned against a wood pile, tightened the tourniquet again and resumed calling for help.

Every five minutes, he said, his microwave would beep, reminding him that the leftovers he had been reheating for a late-night snack were ready. He said the chirps tortured him at first, but they later became a source of strength, telling him he had made it through another five minutes.

He made one final thrust at the boiler and was able to open its release valve, sending a brackish, rust-colored water onto the floor. He scooped it into his mouth with a flip-flop he had been wearing.

“It was just enough to at least mentally make me feel like, here’s a way out of this,” he said.

He said thoughts of his fiancee, family, friends and his little beagle, Portia, also kept him going.

Friends and coworkers at The Travelers, where Metz works in financial services, grew worried when he did not show up for work Tuesday and missed a softball game.

When Metz did not answer the doorbell at his home Wednesday, June 9, a friend called police, who found Metz in the basement.

Firefighters ripped apart the furnace with heavy tools, including a spreader normally used to take the door off a car. Once they did, the arm just gave way.

His doctors said Metz is doing well. They hope to fit him for a prosthetic arm in the next month.

The family has set up a website — to collect donations to help pay the costs that insurance will not cover.

Metz said he is not feeling sorry for himself. He plans to get married, eventually go back to work, back to playing softball, back to his hobby of building furniture. There will be no more procrastinating, he said.

“In the short term, it’s going to be difficult,” he said. “But in the long term, boy if you need a kick in the pants to get you to tackle, take on those dreams or whatever your aspirations are, this was it.”