Nancy Grace

Alleged killers talked about corpse on Facebook?

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!

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!

May 30th, 2012
05:29 PM ET

Mom of dead toddler speaks to Nancy Grace

The babysitter accused of hiding a 1-year-old Ohio boy’s body in a closet and falsely reporting him missing had been caring for him for about two weeks, his mother said Wednesday.

According to Kiara Carter, she and Marquita Burch were “like sisters” until last Friday. She said Burch had babysat 1-year-old William Cunningham for extended periods of time before, but she always brought him home whenever Carter asked.

This time, however, “She just kept saying, here I come, here I come, but she never came with my baby,” Carter told HLN’s Nancy Grace Wednesday in an emotional interview.

Finally, on Friday afternoon, according to Carter, Burch told her that William was missing.

“When I got up there, I had a instinct like, my baby’s not here,” Carter said. “My baby is somewhere else and something’s wrong with him.”

Her fears were confirmed Saturday when William’s body was found in a closet in a Cincinnati apartment, where police say Burch admitted she had hidden it. Burch is now charged with tampering with evidence and abuse of a corpse.

Burch’s attorney has not returned calls from HLN seeking comment on the case, but WCPO reported that he claimed at her arraignment Monday that the boy’s death was the result of an accidental fall.

Hamilton County Coroner Lakshmi Sammarco told Nancy Grace Wednesday that William’s body was partially decomposed and showed evidence of head trauma. She estimated that he had been dead for 2-5 days when he was found.

As the investigation continues and authorities work to determine exactly how William Cunningham died, his mother has one question she wants answered.

“All I want to know is just, ‘Why?’” Carter said.

For the entire interview, watch Nancy Grace tonight at 8 & 10 PM ET on HLN or go to www.hlntv.com

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Cops: Babysitter fakes infant’s disappearance; hides body in closet
May 30th, 2012
03:48 PM ET

Cops: Babysitter fakes infant’s disappearance; hides body in closet

CINCINNATI, OHIO - Authorities are investigating the death of a 1-year-old boy after police say they discovered the infant’s body in a hallway closet.

Marquita Burch, 26, has been charged with abuse of a corpse and tampering with evidence. She is currently being held on a $500,000 bond at the Hamilton County Justice Center in Cincinnati, Ohio. She has not been charged with murder.

Cincinnati Police Lt. Anthony Carter told HLN that 1-year-old William Cunningham was reported missing by his babysitter on Friday afternoon, May 25. Authorities say the babysitter told them the boy went missing from a playground on Friday after he wandered off while playing with other children.

Investigators, emergency workers and firefighters immediately began searching for the boy. After a massive search, police say the babysitter recanted her story and told investigators that the child accidentally died in an apartment.

Police say Burch told them the child accidentally fell down the steps at her residence in Kentucky. Burch’s attorney has not returned calls from HLN seeking comment on the case, but WCPO reported that he claimed at her arraignment Monday that the boy’s death was the result of an accidental fall.

Investigators say they learned Burch concealed and moved the body from one location to another, according to the arrest and investigation report.

Police say Burch directed investigators to the apartment where the body was found. When police entered the apartment, they found the body 1-year-old William Cunningham in the hallway closet.

Hamilton County Coroner Lakshmi Sammarco told HLN that the child’s body was partially decomposed and had he been dead for at least 48 hours before his body was found. He suffered head trauma and there was blood in his head and around his brain, according to Sammarco. Sammarco says the infant’s body was wrapped in a bed sheet, placed inside a plastic bag, and then put in another bag full of laundry.

Further tests are being conducted before an official cause and manner of death is determined.

Lt. Carter told HLN that the child had been in Burch’s care since May 1, however, the mother, the child and Burch had regular visits with each other up until the days prior to the discovery of the body.

Anyone with information regarding the death of 1-year-old William Cunningham is asked to call the Cincinnati Crime Stoppers at 888-352-3040.

For more on the story, go to www.hlntv.com

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May 24th, 2012
06:55 PM ET

Frantic wife calls 911, catches dispatcher sleeping on the job


Snoring might have been the last sound a Maryland woman expected to hear when she dialed 911 in efforts to save her ailing husband.

A panicked Montgomery County woman called for emergency help just after midnight April 4. Her husband had stopped breathing.

“Hello? Hello?” the woman can be heard asking in between loud snoring noises allegedly from the dispatcher at the other end of the line.

“He’s all blue right now. I don’t know what to do,” she said about 30 seconds into the call, as an alternate dispatcher picked up and tried work through the disruptive snoring.

“Is that him I hear in the background,” the secondary dispatcher asked the woman about the noises.

“Yes,” she responded, twice, perhaps not realizing to what noises the dispatcher was referring.

Assistant Fire Chief Scott Graham says the snoring dispatcher’s phone line remained open throughout the call, according to standard procedure. The procedure generally helps dispatchers and emergency responders stay in contact with each other.

This time, the would-be dispatcher contributed as many as 19 snoring interruptions to the call, before waking up nearly six minutes later, asking the caller for her address.

The woman’s panic escalated as she told the dispatcher that her husband’s airway had narrowed. Through her cries, the secondary dispatcher assured her that an ambulance was on the way.

“Tilt his head back,” the dispatcher said, in between snores.

Graham told HLN that the sleeping dispatcher was 17 hours into a 24 hour shift at the time of the call.

“He was about a half hour before taking his break,” Graham said.

The woman’s husband was taken to the hospital and released. Some say he is lucky to be alive.

Medical Examiner and Forensic Pathologist, Dr. Michelle DuPre, said the man’s condition could have been caused by lack of oxygen, heart attack or respiratory problem.

The man’s name and medical condition have not been released.

Graham said he did not know how long the dispatcher had been employed at the call center but said the man was a seasoned firefighter and communicator.

The unidentified dispatcher is now on paid administrative work leave, pending an internal investigation. Graham declined to make further comment about the department’s disciplinary process.

Eric Parry, Chair of the National Emergency Number Association Education Advisory Board, said there is no national regulation for 911 call centers.

“Historically, 911 was always a very local service,” he said.

“I think it has to be investigated. They have to find out what went on during the shift and if there were any medical issues or other things that don’t meet the eye.”

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May 23rd, 2012
01:20 PM ET

Police: Grandmother admits to killing daughter & granddaughter

WINCHESTER, KENTUCKY – A grandmother has been charged with two counts of murder for allegedly stabbing her daughter and 23-month-old granddaughter to death before cutting her wrists and neck, according to police.

Lilly Stanton, 48, was taken by helicopter the University of Kentucky Medical Center after police say she suffered self-inflicted wounds to her wrist and neck. She is currently being treated for her injuries and is under 24-hour guard by police. Winchester Police Capt. James Hall said she will be transferred to the Clark County Jail once she’s released from the hospital.

Danel Stanton & daughter, Kaydence
Danel Stanton & daughter, Kaydence

“Ms. Stanton has given a statement to the police department admitting her actions in the murder and gave statements that she attempted to harm herself afterward,” according to Hall. Investigators say the suspect made an initial statement to her husband but it did not match her statement given to police at the hospital.

The suspect’s husband discovered the bodies of his daughter and granddaughter on May 20th. Police say he was not present when the murders occurred.

23-month-old Kaydence Ray Miers died of “cutting injuries to the neck,” according to Clark County Coroner Robert Gayheart. The cause of death for 22-year-old Danel Korrey Stanton is still pending.

During the investigation, numerous items of evidence were removed from the scene, including “several knives with blood on them,” according to Hall. “Those knives will be sent to the state police lab to determine which knives were used.”

Investigators say they cannot elaborate on a possible motive and have been unable to find any record of domestic violence within the family. “I can’t say if she just snapped or if it was spontaneous,” said Hall.

HLN reached out to Lilly Stanton for a comment, but calls were not returned due to her current medical condition.

“We’re getting new information everyday from people who have known the victims and the perpetrator so we will conduct interviews as long as we need to,” Hall announced at the press conference. Investigators say they are not looking at any other suspects at this time but the investigation is still ongoing.

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Man charged with murder in teen cheerleader’s disappearance
May 22nd, 2012
12:54 PM ET

Man charged with murder in teen cheerleader’s disappearance

Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Investigators have arrested a 21-year-old man in connection with the disappearance 15-year-old Sierra LaMar who disappeared on her way to a school bus stop.

Antolin Garcia-Torres / Santa Clara County Sheriff
Antolin Garcia-Torres / Santa Clara County Sheriff

Antolin Garcia-Torres, 21, has been booked into the Santa Clara County Jail on one count of murder and one count of kidnapping. At a press conference today, Sheriff Laurie Smith said that Garcia-Torres is responsible for the kidnapping and murder of Sierra “based on direct and circumstantial evidence including forensics analysis.” Police say that the discovery of Sierra’s cell phone, clothing, and personal belongings she wore on the day she disappeared contributed to their belief that Sierra was a victim of murder. Police also reveal they have physical evidence linking Sierra to the suspect’s vehicle. On May 8th, police announced they were searching for a Red Volkswagen Jetta connected to Sierra’s disappearance. Police say that Garcia-Torres is the owner of the Red Volkswagen Jetta that was seen near the area where Sierra was last seen during the time she went missing.

Sheriff Laurie Smith said that Sierra’s bag found near her home contained DNA belonging to Garcia-Torres. The DNA was then placed into the system and subsequently led police to the suspect. As a result, police put Garcia-Torres under 24-hour surveillance, and police hoped he would lead them to Sierra. Sheriff Laurie Smith said they believe “this was purely random…a stranger abduction of a young girl.”

According to police, forensic evidence has also linked the suspect to a separate assault in the Morgan Hill area from three years ago in March 2009.

Investigators say they have gained “some value” from their interviews with the suspect and hope that at some point he eventually tells them more. Right now police believe he is “the only person responsible for the kidnapping and murder of Sierra.” Sheriff Laurie Smith announced that they have not located any blood or a weapon. HLN reached out to Antolin Garcia-Torres’ attorney for a comment, but calls were not immediately returned.

At the end of the police press conference, Sierra’s mother made a plea to the suspect, begging him to “come forward and say where she is, and end this nightmare for us as a family.” Sierra’s mother said she’s not giving up hope because Sierra's body has still not been found.

Marc Klaas, whose 12-year-old daughter Polly was kidnapped and murdered, said his volunteers will continue to search until Sierra is found.

Sierra LaMar is a white female with an olive complexion. She is 5’2”, with a thin build and has long dark hair. If you have any information, please call the tipline at 408-808-4431 or email tips@sheriffsccgov.org. There is a $50,500 reward.

For the latest news on the case, watch Nancy Grace Tuesday at 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. ET on HLN, or go to www.HLNtv.com

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Cops: Decomposed body of missing girl, 19, found in woods
May 21st, 2012
12:33 PM ET

Cops: Decomposed body of missing girl, 19, found in woods

Police confirm they have discovered the body of a missing 19-year-old girl who investigators say disappeared after having a verbal argument with her boyfriend. HLN spoke with Euless Police Lt. Eric Starnes who said Valladares’ boyfriend is fully cooperating with the investigation and has not been named a suspect.

A man walking his dog discovered the missing teen’s decomposed body in a wooded area about 150 yards from the apartment complex where she was last seen alive, according to police.

“The body was decomposed, and we cannot tell if there was foul play or if the person died of natural causes,” according to police spokesman Lt. Eric Starnes.

The medical examiner’s office identified the body as Ashley Valladares through a fingerprint. No cause of death has been determined and police are not calling the death a homicide.

The night she went missing, Valladares had worked late at her job at a local KFC. When her shift ended at 11:15 p.m., Valladares went home to the apartment she shared with her boyfriend. Valladares’ boyfriend told police that he got upset with her and left their apartment around 11:30 p.m. because an unidentified man showed up asking for a haircut. Valladares reportedly chased her boyfriend out of the apartment and begged him not to leave. Her boyfriend told police he returned home around 2:00 a.m. but she was gone.

Valladares’ father reported her missing after her boyfriend told him that she never came home, according to police.

Anyone with information is urged to contact the Euless Police Department at 817-685-1556.

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Mom of 5 found stabbed in bedroom
May 18th, 2012
02:17 PM ET

Mom of 5 found stabbed in bedroom

COTTONWOOD, CA – The body of Karen Duenas, a mother of five and college instructor, was discovered by her husband in the bedroom of their upscale home. Police say she was stabbed to death multiple times.

Karen Duenas’ husband, Mark Duenas, called 911 in the early morning hours of May 5th to report he found his wife with a large gash in her chest. Mark Duenas told the 911 dispatcher that there was “blood everywhere.” The murdered mother of five was pronounced dead at the scene. Her husband told police he didn’t know what happened to her.

Police will not reveal what type of murder weapon was used in the horrific stabbing death or if there was any sign of forced entry. Neighbors reportedly say they didn’t see anything suspicious in the area around the time of the murder.

Karen’s grieving family, friends and students honored her at a memorial at Shasta College on May 11th. Karen’s brother told mourners that her husband couldn’t attend.

Extensive searches have been conducted in the area for additional evidence. Divers searched an irrigation canal just three blocks from the home. Police were seen removing brush behind the family home, but reportedly didn’t find any additional clues.

HLN reached out to Mark Duenas, but he declined to comment. Police say he is not a suspect in his wife’s murder.

Karen Duenas leaves behind five sons and five grandsons. She was an instructor in the agriculture, industry and technology division at Shasta College. She has just finished her first year of nursing school.

In a statement released by Shasta College, faculty said Karen Duenas was an “amazing instructor and beautiful human being” who was “loved by everyone.”

Anyone with information regarding the murder of Karen Duenas is encouraged to contact the Shasta County Sheriff’s Office at 530-245-6157. There is a $10,000 reward.

For more on the case, watch Nancy Grace Friday at 8 pm and 10 pm ET on HLN, and for all the latest news, go to www.HLNtv.com.

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May 17th, 2012
11:07 AM ET

Longtime friend of murdered bride speaks

An arrest warrant has been issued for a 30-year-old groom who is wanted for the murder of his new bride. Police say 26-year-old Estrella Carrerra was found stabbed to death in her bathtub. The murdered bride was wearing her silver sequined wedding dress, drenched in her own blood. The horrific scene was described by police as a “very brutal killing.”

In a stunning interview, Nancy Grace spoke with a longtime friend of the murdered bride – Jesus, who asked to only be identified by his first name for his own protection. He revealed shocking details regarding the relationship between Estrella Carrerra and her new husband, Arnoldo Jimenez.

Jesus told Nancy Grace that the murdered bride was a “good mother” who “kept to herself.” He said he had no idea how the Carrerra ended up with a “person like him.”

Carrerra’s close friend described the murder suspect as “very controlling,” with a “short temper.”

Police say the brutal killing likely took place just hours after the newlywed couple went back to her apartment after celebrating with friends, so it’s possible Jimenez fled the area or even the state. Investigators believe the suspect may be driving a 2006 Black Maserati.

Arnoldo Jimenez is 6-foot and weighs approximately 220 lbs. He has black hair and brown eyes. If you have any information regarding his whereabouts, please call police at 708-924-7300.

For more on the case, go to www.hlntv.com

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