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Louisiana mom charged with death of Down syndrome son
Written by Associated Press   
Thursday, 13 March 2014 06:24

BELLE CHASSE, La. (AP) — A Louisiana woman has been arrested on a charge of first-degree murder after police say she injected alcohol-based hand sanitizer into the feeding tube of her 17-month-old son, who had Down syndrome.

Twenty-year-old Erika Wigstrom was being held without bond after her arrest Tuesday. Plaquemines Parish Sheriff's Commander Eric Becnel says she told police she wanted to end Lucas Ruiz's suffering. NOLA.com The Times-Picayune reports (http://bit.ly/1gqPaZ0) that Wigstrom broke down in tears during an afternoon court appearance Wednesday.

Lucas died Jan. 24. Becnel said the child also had been poisoned with alcohol in October 2012 while hospitalized for treatment of a heart defect. Becnel says the child's father, Cesar Ruiz, confessed in that instance, but that Wigstrom has now confessed to poisoning the child both times.

Becnel said he didn't know if Wigstrom had a lawyer.


Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

 
Searchers scour rubble after gas explosion kills seven
Written by JAKE PEARSON, Associated Press JONATHAN LEMIRE, Associated Press   
Thursday, 13 March 2014 06:21

 

NEW YORK (AP) — Rescuers working amid gusty winds, cold temperatures and billowing smoke pulled four additional bodies overnight from the rubble of two Manhattan apartment buildings, as the death toll rose Thursday to at least seven from a gas leak-triggered explosion that reduced the area to a pile of smashed bricks, splinters and mangled metal.

The explosion Wednesday morning in East Harlem injured more than 60 people, with searchers still trying to locate others a day later. Crews used generator-powered floodlights and thermal imaging cameras to identify heat spots — bodies or pockets of fire — at the site on Park Avenue and 116th Street. Police guarding the scene wore surgical masks and neighborhood residents covered faces with scarfs amid the thick, acrid air.

"This is a difficult job, a challenging job," Fire Department spokesman Jim Long said. He said it was "a very terrible and traumatic scene."

Searches of the street were completed Wednesday evening and no victims had been found there, city officials said. Workers initially were hampered from fully accessing the building space because of a sinkhole caused by a subsurface water main break. The weather also posed a challenge, with temperatures dropping into the 20s and rain falling, but workers remained at the site.

The fiery blast erupted at about 9:30 a.m., around 15 minutes after a neighboring resident reported smelling gas, authorities said. The Con Edison utility said it immediately sent workers to check out the report, but they didn't arrive until it was too late.

Last Updated on Thursday, 13 March 2014 08:04
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Malaysia: No debris at spot shown on China images
Written by CHRIS BRUMMITT, Associated Press JIM GOMEZ, Associated Press   
Thursday, 13 March 2014 04:28

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — Planes sent Thursday to check the spot where Chinese satellite images showed possible debris from the missing Malaysian jetliner found nothing, Malaysia's civil aviation chief said, deflating the latest lead in the six-day hunt.

"There is nothing. We went there, there is nothing," Azharuddin Abdul Rahman told reporters in Kuala Lumpur.

Adding to the mystery, The Wall Street Journal reported that U.S. investigators suspect the plane flew on for four hours once it lost contact with air traffic controllers, based on data from the plane's engines that are automatically downloaded and transmitted to the ground as part of routine maintenance programs.

The report, based on two anonymous sources, raises questions as to why the Boeing 777 would have been flying without passive or active contact with the ground, and if anyone would have been in control during that time. U.S. counterterrorism officials are considering whether a pilot or someone else on board intentionally disabled the jetliner's transponders to avoid detection and divert it, the report said.

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Gas blast destroys New York buildings; six people dead
Written by JAKE PEARSON, Associated Press JONATHAN LEMIRE, Associated Press   
Thursday, 13 March 2014 04:31

NEW YORK (AP) — A sixth person has been confirmed killed by an explosion that flattened two New York City apartment buildings.

Fire department spokesman Michael Parrella says the body of an unidentified male was found in the rubble around 3:15 a.m. Thursday. A half hour earlier, a woman's body had been found.

A gas leak triggered the explosion Wednesday morning on Park Avenue and 116th Street in East Harlem. The blast also injured more than 60 people. At least three of the injured were children.

The explosion shattered windows a block away, cast a plume of smoke over the skyline and sent people running into the streets.

Authorities say the fiery blast erupted about 9:30 a.m., about 15 minutes after a neighboring resident reported smelling gas.


Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

 
Former Florida Gov. Reubin Askew dies
Written by Associated Press   
Thursday, 13 March 2014 04:27

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Former Florida Gov. Reubin Askew, who guided the state through a period of school busing to achieve integration in the 1970s, died early Thursday. He was 85.

Ron Sachs, a former aide, told The Associated Press that Askew died surrounded by family members at Tallahassee Memorial Healthcare.

Askew rose from obscurity in the Florida Legislature to become the Democrats' surprise gubernatorial nominee in 1970 and then beat the incumbent Republican, Claude Kirk.

Askew's eight years in office coincided with the end of the Vietnam War, Watergate and dramatic social change across the nation.

Askew was a liberal on racial issues and crusaded for overhauling the state's tax laws, open government, environmental protection, ethics legislation and streamlining the courts and other governmental agencies.


Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

 
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