A young couple reportedly partied at a bar after allegedly murdering a 19-year-old girl, then argued about how to dispose of her corpse in text and Facebook messages!
JORAN VAN DER SLOOT
Joran van der Sloot could be extradited from Peru to the United States to face extortion charges within months, his attorney told CNN Monday. According to Maximo Altez, the US has taken the first step in the process and he expects a formal request for extradition soon. Altez said that if van der Sloot is convicted in federal court, he would likely return to Peru to serve the rest of his 28-year prison sentence for murder there and then come back to the US to serve whatever sentence is ordered here. See CNN’s full report here for more details.
Authorities confirmed Tuesday that remains found by a man walking his dog in a wooded area in Falmouth, Massachusetts last week are those of Trudie Hall, a 23-year-old pregnant woman who disappeared nearly two years ago. Hall was reported missing by her mother on July 28, 2010. According to the Boston Globe, prosecutor Michael O’Keefe said at a press conference that investigators believe Hall traveled from Nantucket to Cape Cod on July 27. Her rental car was found on July 29 with blood inside, the Cape Cod Times reported.
O’Keefe told reporters Tuesday that investigators know from examining the body that Hall was shot multiple times, though he would not reveal how many. He said a decision had not been made yet on whether they can pursue a second murder charge for the death of her unborn child once a suspect is identified. According to O’Keefe, it is possible that someone out there “knowingly or unknowingly” aided Hall’s killer after the fact and police would like to speak to that person.
Two weeks after a young Virginia mother vanished, her family is appealing to the public for help finding her. WSET reported that 22-year-old Heather Hodges has not been seen since April 9, when her boyfriend called police to report that he left her home alone for about 10 minutes while he went to Dairy Queen and she was gone when he got back.
According to the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office, no evidence of foul play has emerged, but several details about her disappearance concern them, including the fact that she left her 2-year-old daughter behind and has not called to check in on her. Relatives told reporters Monday that Hodges has gone missing voluntarily before, but never for this long and never without contacting anyone. Authorities say Hodges’ 39-year-old boyfriend has been cooperating with the investigation. Anyone with information is asked to call the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office at (540) 483-3000.
A Washington judge has denied a defense request to throw out evidence against missing woman Susan Powell’s father-in-law in a voyeurism and child pornography case unrelated to her 2009 disappearance. Attorneys for Steven Powell argued that a search warrant executed on his home in August 2011 as part of the Susan Powell case was overly broad and illegal.
The recently-unsealed warrant was intended to recover physical and digital copies of Susan’s journals that Powell and his son Josh claimed to have, but investigators also found discs containing images of undressed young girls who were later identified as Steven Powell’s former neighbors. Prosecutors alleged that the images may have been recorded from Powell’s bedroom window. As a result, he was charged with 14 counts of voyeurism and one count of possession of child pornography. He has pleaded not guilty.
According to KOMO, the judge agreed with prosecutors that Powell’s own public comments about having the journals provided probable cause to obtain the search warrant. Pierce County Prosecutor Mark Lindquist said in a statement that he was “pleased” with the ruling. Powell’s trial is scheduled for May 7.
For all of the latest news, go to www.HLNtv.com.
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The search of the basement of a Manhattan building for evidence related to the 1979 disappearance of 6-year-old Etan Patz concluded Monday without uncovering any obvious signs of human remains, police told CNN Monday. CNN reported that a source said a possible bloodstain discovered during the search tested negative, but the stain and other pieces of potential evidence are being sent to the FBI for more testing.
The basement was linked to carpenter Othniel Miller, who had reportedly given Etan a dollar the day before he was last seen. Miller’s attorney told CNN that he has cooperated with the investigation for 30 years and will continue to do so. He has not been charged in the case. For more, see CNN’s full report here.
TRAYVON MARTIN/GEORGE ZIMMERMAN
George Zimmerman’s attorney has entered a not guilty plea on his behalf on second-degree murder charges for the death of Trayvon Martin. Attorney Mark O’Mara also filed documents waiving Zimmerman’s appearance at his arraignment, which had been set for May 8.
Zimmerman was released from jail around 12:00 a.m. Monday after posting bond. It is unknown where he went from there, but O’Mara indicated at last Friday’s bond hearing that he may want to leave Florida if that could be arranged. For complete coverage of the case, head over to HLNtv.com.
BOOBY TRAP ARRESTS
Two Utah men have been accused of setting potentially dangerous booby traps on a trail in Provo Canyon. According to the Utah County Sheriff’s Office, a US Forest Service officer discovered the apparent traps around a rudimentary shelter along a trail frequently used by families for hiking and camping. One of the traps allegedly involved a tripwire that would trigger a large rock with sharpened sticks at both ends to swing at someone’s head. Another tripwire appeared to be designed to cause a person to fall toward sharpened sticks on the ground.
Sgt. Spencer Cannon told HLN Monday that the suspects were identified after someone who goes to the shelter often found out about the traps, got angry and put word out about it on Facebook. Tips eventually led investigators to 19-year-old Benjamin Rutkowski and 21-year-old Kai Christensen, who Cannon said confessed to planting the devices. Both have been charged with reckless endangerment. “I’ve never seen anything like this up there,” Cannon said. The sheriff’s office has posted photos of the traps here.
Bond was denied Monday for a Texas nurse accused of killing a young mother outside a pediatric center and abducting her 3-day-old baby. Verna McClain’s attorney argued for $100,000 bond, pointing out that she has no criminal record and no witnesses have identified her as being at the scene of last Tuesday’s shooting, according to the Houston Chronicle. Judge Fred Edwards ordered that McClain, who is charged with capital murder, be held without bond. Edwards said prosecutors had proven that the killing of Kala Golden was a crime “worthy of death.”
KHOU reported that testimony at Monday’s hearing alleged that McClain approached detectives hours after the shooting and claimed she found newborn Keegan Schuchardt on the front steps of her apartment, but her story fell apart as investigators gathered more evidence. Keegan was later found safe. Police told reporters last week that McClain had recently suffered a miscarriage and they believe she may have intended to claim Keegan as her own.
For the latest news on these and other cases, go to www.HLNtv.com.
Caleigh Harrison was playing on a beach with her sister one minute then vanished moments later.
The 2-year-old girl has not been seen since a Thursday visit to Long Beach in Rockport, Massachusetts, a spot where her family frequently spent leisure time.
Caleigh and her 4-year-old sister were playing on a footbridge, connecting Long Beach to Cape Hedge Beach, when their beach ball drifted into the yard of a nearby cottage.
Their mother Allison Hammond left her daughters for just a couple of minutes so that she could retrieve the ball that had made its way over a fence surrounding the yard.
“What we know and understand is the girls were playing near the water, building a sand castle – Alison had the family dog out there,” said Caleigh’s uncle, David Harrison. “The ball went up on the embankment and she went up the stairs to the top of the sea wall, about 50 yards from where the girls were playing.”
“She walked up the stairs 15 to 20 feet, got to the top of the wall and picked up the ball,” Harrison said. “When she looked from a top the wall there was just one kid.”
Hammond returned to find Caleigh nowhere in sight. She immediately called police to report Caleigh missing.
Search crews immediately deployed to the area searched by water, ground and air, but came up empty, with no leads to Caleigh’s whereabouts.
Investigators questioned Caleigh’s 4-year-old sister to no avail.
“She doesn’t remember anything,” Harrison said. “She’s only 4.”
Police said Monday that they’re “not closing the door” on any possible explanations for the disappearance of six-year-old Isabel Mercedes Celis from her Tucson, Arizona, home.
Tucson Police Chief Roberto Villasenor told reporters authorities have not made any determinations about what they have described as a “suspicious disappearance and possible abduction.” Isabel’s parents reported her missing Saturday morning, telling police that she vanished from her room in the middle of the night, according to a police press release.
Villasenor said on CNN Monday that an open window was found in Isabel’s bedroom with the screen removed, so that is being looked at as a possible point of entry. The girl was last seen when she was put to bed around 11:00 p.m. on Friday, and she was gone when a family member went to wake her around 8:00 a.m.
At a press conference Monday, Villasenor said investigators have been going door to door searching homes in the neighborhood while they continue to process the family’s house for forensic evidence. FBI K-9 handlers with trained dogs have been assisting with the search effort at the house and police are following up on what they have found.
According to Villasenor, Isabel’s parents have been cooperative and investigators know where they are if they need to speak to them again. He called them the “best source of information” for finding their daughter, although he told ABC News earlier in the day that nobody, including the parents, has been ruled out as a possible suspect in the case.
Isabel Celis is described as 44 inches tall, approximately 44 pounds, with light brown hair and hazel eyes. Her hair was braided when she was last seen and she is missing two of her front teeth. Anyone with information regarding her whereabouts is asked to call 520-882-7463.
For more on this case & the latest news go to: www.HLNtv.com.
TRAYVON MARTIN / GEORGE ZIMMERMAN
George Zimmerman’s bond has been set at $150,000 on a charge of second-degree murder in the shooting of unarmed teen Trayvon Martin. An attorney for Martin’s family, Daryl Parks, told HLN’s Nancy Grace that his parents were devastated by the events at Friday’s bond hearing.
Zimmerman took the stand himself and offered an apology to Martin’s parents in court, saying, "I wanted to say I am sorry for the loss of your son." Parks called the apology “unwelcomed” and “self-serving.” For more on today’s hearing, head over to HLNtv.com and watch “Nancy Grace” tonight at 8 pm and 10 pm ET on HLN.
Work continued Friday at a Manhattanbuilding where authorities are reportedly tearing up a basement floor in search of evidence connected to missing 6-year-old Etan Patz. According to CNN, a cadaver dog recently picked up a human scent in the basement where a carpenter who had met Etan before the boy’s 1979 disappearance once had a workshop.
When interviewed by investigators, sources tell CNN the carpenter said, “What if the body was moved?” For lots more information about the search and the investigation that prompted it, check out CNN’s full report here.
A new search for missing teen Sierra LaMar is planned for Saturday. The San Jose Mercury News reports that about 90 law enforcement officers will participate in a search effort that will focus on rough rural terrain in Santa Clara County. It has now been more than a month since LaMar was last seen at her mother’s Morgan Hill home on the morning of March 16. She is believed to have left to walk to her school bus stop, but she never made it there. Earlier this week, authorities announced that crime lab tests on evidence have provided some new leads in the search, but they would not release additional details. LaMar’s family recently set up an official website to provide updates on the case and collect donations: www.findsierralamar.com. The site is currently calling for volunteers to participate in searches on Saturday and Sunday.
MOM CHARGED W/1ST DEG. MURDER OF HER SON, 15 MONTHS
25-year-old Ashley Cameron has been charged with first-degree murder for the February 11 drowning death of her 15-month-old son. According to a criminal complaint, the Iowa mother allegedly used “unreasonable force” to hold the head of Markis Dahms under a bathtub faucet with water running into his nose and mouth until he died. KPTM reported that it was the first murder case in the city ofOnawa in nearly 40 years. Cameron’s public defenders could not be reached for comment immediately Friday afternoon. She is being held at Monona County Jail on $1 million bond.
The reward for information in the case of a missing Coloradoteenager tripled to $1,500 Thursday as friends and family gathered in Fort Morgan for a vigil to mark three weeks since Kayla Chadwick’s disappearance. Chadwick was reportedly last seen after a fight with her boyfriend around 11 pm on March 27. Police say she is classified as a “missing endangered person” and they have not ruled out the possibility of foul play. “We’re keeping all the options open at this point,” Detective Todd Zwetzig of the Fort Morgan Police Dept. told HLN Friday.
Investigators have been conducting follow-up interviews this week but they have not turned up any significant new leads. Kayla’s boyfriend and his family are cooperating with authorities, according to Zwetzig. Anyone with information on Kayla Chadwick’s whereabouts is asked to call police dispatch at 970-867-5678 or Crime Stoppers at 970-542-3411.
For all of the latest news go to: www.HLNtv.com
A man held in connection with the disappearance of an Alaska teen has been indicted on two new charges: kidnapping resulting in death and receipt and possession of ransom money. Federal court documents filed Wednesday shed some light on what authorities believe happened to 18-year-old Samantha Koenig on the night February 1.
34-year-old Israel Keyes is accused of abducting Koenig from the coffee hut where she worked, killing her and then using her cell phone to demand ransom money, according to the indictment. Koenig’s body was found in Matanuska Lake on April 2.
The indictment states that Keyes allegedly stole a debit card from a car Koenig shared and obtained the pin number for the card from her. Prosecutors claim he used it several times between February 28 and March 13 to withdraw about $2,400 in ransom money from ATMs in several states, including Texas, Nevada, Arizona and New Mexico.
Keyes was arrested in Lufkin, Texas in mid-March and authorities initially refused to say how he was connected to the Koenig case. Until Wednesday’s indictment, he was being held without bond on a charge of access device fraud. A detention order described him as a “serious” flight risk and a potential danger to the community if released.
The indictment alleges that Keyes “intentionally inflicted serious bodily injury that resulted in the death of Samantha Koenig” and refers to “an act of violence” that “created a grave risk of death,” but it does not reveal how she was killed or what led authorities to search for her body in the lake.
According to the Anchorage Daily News, Keyes entered a not guilty plea at his arraignment in federal court Thursday.
For more on this case and other stories go to: www.HLNtv.com