Archive for November, 2010

Roughing it

Posted in News, Sad with tags , , on November 28, 2010 by punauni


Keith D. Hill, 36, gathers wood and starts a fire at his Keene encampment Saturday evening.

The sun has barely set and it’s 29 degrees outside, but Hill does not have a place to go home to. Instead, he has lived for the past few weeks in a marshy, thorn-infested patch of woods where he thinks he’s unlikely to be discovered.

Hill lives by himself at his campsite, but he’s not alone in his situation. Matthew S. Primrose, path outreach worker for Monadnock Family Services, is out in the woods three times a week, speaking to people with nowhere else to go.

Mid- to late fall is Primrose’s busiest time. As the temperature drops, more and more homeless people search for services, and local shelters are often already full, he said.

The Hundred Nights Shelter on Lamson Street, which serves as a nightly warming shelter, does not open until the first day of winter. Until it does, Primrose said many living outside have to bide their time or accept shelter outside the area.

“They’re stuck between a rock and a hard place,” Primrose said.

Hill and his wife and four children have been homeless since October 2009, when Hill lost his job. The family fell behind on the rent and were evicted, he said. They lived in hotels through the first winter, but quickly ran out of money. Hill went out to the woods for the early spring and his wife and children moved into her cousin’s house in Keene.

The family came back together to live at the Surry Mountain Campground, where they spent April through October. During the first two months they were in tents, but then a woman offered them a camper she wasn’t using, and they spent four months in that until the campground closed last month.

The family lived at the Valley Green Motel for a few weeks at $300 per week, but quickly ran out of money, leaving them back in the situation they faced last winter, Hill said.

“We’re just a normal family and we had normal things and normal lives, but then everything went bad,” Hill said.

Hill said the family applied for housing through Southwestern Community Services in Keene when they first lost their house, but were denied.

When he looked for assistance through the city of Keene, he was directed to the crowded Federal Street shelter, where he and his family would have had to sleep in the living room, he said.

He says he and his family slipped through the cracks.

Finding work and a place to live has been difficult, in part because Hill has a criminal record. Hill’s crime was an assault 12 years ago, he said, and he has been clean since.

His campsite consists of a low tent, a pile of wood and a small cleared space for a fire. In his tent he keeps his food and an Army-issue sleeping bag he’s borrowing from a friend.

He only goes there at night, spending the day with his children and looking for work.

His youngest is three years old, and has spent nearly half of his life homeless, Hill said.

Last year, several homeless people lived in the woods behind Hannaford’s Supermarket on West Street in a group encampment called “Tent City.” Primrose said the number of people living outside this time of year hasn’t improved since then.

Southwestern Community Services has done a lot to help pull people out of the woods, however, Primrose said.

But while Primrose isn’t aware of any larger encampments like Tent City this year, he is aware of many people living outside.

Hill will remain outside until he can find a way to improve his situation.

Hill knows his family is struggling, but he wants better than a homeless shelter for himself and his family, and refuses to move into one, he said.

“I guess I’m just really stubborn. Who knows, maybe I’ll be out here for the whole winter.”


Enfield Man Killed When Trapped Under Golf Cart

Posted in Connecticut, News on November 28, 2010 by punauni

STAFFORD, Conn. — State police said they are trying to figure out what caused a Enfield man to get trapped under a golf cart. Police said that 53-year-old Timothy Veilleux was discovered in the middle of roadway at the Roaring Brook Campground off South Road shortly after 8:30 p.m. Friday. Veilleux was trapped underneath his overturned golf cart and unresponsive. Veilleux was transported to Johnson Memorial Hospital were he died from his injuries. The accident remains under investigation.

Floating Dummy Found In River Rescue

Posted in News on November 28, 2010 by punauni

LOS ANGELES — Firefighters who were called to rescue someone from the Los Angeles River found themselves retrieving a real dummy. Fire Department spokesman Erik Scott says a 911 call sent firefighters to a section of the concrete channel in the San Fernando Valley on Wednesday morning. But rescuers didn’t find a flailing swimmer. They actually spotted a mannequin similar to those used as CPR training devices. Scott says a helicopter and a swift-water rescue team were dispatched. The chopper wasn’t needed but the firefighters waded into the water and retrieved the dummy so it wouldn’t prompt other calls. Scott says it’s unclear whether the mannequin got into the channel by accident or was part of a deliberate hoax.

Florida grandmother, Patty Bigbee, allegedly sold grandchild for $30K: Mom wanted money for new car

Posted in News, Parents Behaving Badly, People Behaving Badly, Sad with tags on November 12, 2010 by punauni
An alleged baby-peddling granny wanted to give some of the cash to her daughter to buy a new car, Florida police said. 

Patty Bigbee, 45, grabbed national headlines this month after she brokered the deal on behalf of her daughter, Stephanie Bigbee Fleming, mother of the 8-week-old child.

“Fleming planned to purchase a new vehicle from the money received,” a spokeswoman for the Florida Department of Law Enforcement said on Tuesday.

Bigbee initially demanded $75,000 from a stranger in a parking lot in Daytona Beach, but eventually agreed to take $30,000.

Fleming, 22, of Bradenton, Fla., was to receive $9,000 from the sale. She was going to use the money to also pay court costs for an unrelated probation violation, police said.

Cops were tipped off by the prospective buyer, who said the grandmother approached and offered to sell the child. Authorities then staged a sting operation after the child was in the back of the undercover buyer’s car.

Fleming was taken into custody on Tuesday. The grandmother was arrested last week, alongside her boyfriend Lawrence Works, both of Holly Hill, Fla..  All three were charged with the illegal sale of a child.

The baby remains in state custody.

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Mother charged in death of Bloomingdale girl

Posted in News, Parents Behaving Badly, Sad with tags , on November 12, 2010 by punauni

The woman accused of murdering her 4-year-old daughter in a Bloomingdale town house last week told police she killed the girl to keep her from being raped and sold as a sex slave over the Internet, prosecutors said during a hearing Sunday.

Marci M. Webber, 43, is charged with first-degree murder in the death of Magdalene M. “Maggie” Webber. DuPage County Judge Richard Russo ordered her held on $5 million bond.

Bloomingdale police reported that when they entered the home Wednesday in response to a 911 call from Marci Webber’s teenage daughter, they found Maggie dead in an upstairs bathtub with the words “divine mercy” written in blood on an adjacent wall, said Assistant State’s Attorney Joseph Lindt.

Lindt said it was believed that the victim was drugged with Benadryl and sleeping pills before she was attacked. But he said the child “may have awoken” during the attack, in which a single cut severed her esophagus and touched her spine, nearly decapitating the girl.

A 4-inch folding knife believed to be the murder weapon was recovered at the scene. An autopsy conducted Thursday concluded that the child died of a single laceration to her neck.

“She said she wanted to keep her daughter from being an Internet sex slave,” Lindt said, although prosecutors said later they do not believe the girl faced such a threat.

DuPage County State’s Attorney Joseph Birkett said Saturday that the county would seek a mental health examination in anticipation of an insanity plea by Webber.

Webber, who looked a little disheveled as she appeared on a video screen in Bond Court, listened intently and asked for a lower bond, which was denied by Russo. She answered questions appropriately.

She and her youngest daughter had been living in upstate New York until a few weeks ago, when they came to stay with Marci Webber’s mother in the town house in the 200 block of Amherst Court on Bloomingdale’s southeast side. The grandmother was out of town the day of the attack, authorities said. The grandmother had previously had custody of Marci Webber’s oldest daughter, an 18-year-old, but that daughter recently left her grandmother’s home to live with her fiance in the area.

Marci Webber also has a 10-year-old daughter, who police said was not in Illinois.

Orlando mom accused of leaving baby with roaches, partying at CityWalk

Posted in News, Parents Behaving Badly, Sad with tags on November 4, 2010 by punauni


Police said the Orlando apartment where Kendra Leonard left her 14-month-old daughter alone for eight hours Thursday was overrun with roaches, had no running water or baby supplies.

The arrest report also shows Leonard — who has a history of child neglect — left her daughter with a bag of popcorn in her crib and a soiled diaper.

Sgt. Barbara Jones of the Orlando Police Department said Leonard told investigators she had gone to Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Orlando, but didn’t have enough money for admission. Instead, she went to party at Universal CityWalk.

Leonard was booked into the Orange County Jail on a child-neglect charge. Records show she was released after posting $1,000 bond later Friday.

Department of Children and Families spokeswoman Carrie Hoeppner said the toddler spent the night in foster care and will be evaluated by doctors to determine if she’s in good health.

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According to Hoeppner, a judge ordered on Friday morning that toddler will remain in protective custody while the Department of Children and Families works to determine if there are any family members or loved ones that can provide “interim care” for the child while the investigation continues.

Orange County Court records show Leonard lost custody of her other two children in 2008. Adjudication was withheld in that case stemming from a 2007 arrest on a child-neglect charge. A complaint also had been filed earlier claiming she neglected this toddler, but it was unsubstantiated.

“The agency will most definitely take into consideration the long history of neglect as it relates to the older siblings when making decisions for this child,” Hoeppner said. “You may have a long history of abuse related to older siblings, but that alone doesn’t always give you the legal sufficiency to remove the new sibling [from the parent].”

Orlando police had discovered the abandoned child in her crib and her mother missing after a neighbor called officers to report a burglary at Leonard’s apartment in the 2800 block of L.B. McLeod Road.

Lt. Arnold Alvarez of the Police Department said they launched a search for the missing woman using agency choppers and patrol cars because investigators were concerned about Leonard’s safety.

Leonard reappeared around midnight to find police inside her apartment.

“She just came home and did not know we were looking for her,” Alvarez said.

Atlanta Police Officer Charged With Raping 12-Year-Old Girl

Posted in News, People Behaving Badly, Police Behaving Badly, Sad with tags , , on November 4, 2010 by punauni


AN ATLANTA  police officer was arrested and charged with raping a 12-year-old girl, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported Wednesday.

Fulton County officer Michael Bernard Wilson, 30, was suspended without pay after his arrest Tuesday, said Fulton police captain Darryl Halbert.

The victim’s mother reported the alleged crimes to DeKalb police.

Mr Wilson, a five-year veteran of the force, was charged with two counts of child molestation, rape and false imprisonment. He was being held at DeKalb jail without bond.