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May 4, 2008

Teens Shot Near Cinco De Mayo Celebration

Two teenagers were shot near a Cinco de Mayo celebration in St. Paul Saturday.

The teens were shot within a block of one another, one on Baker Street East near Mt. Hope, and the second in the 200 bloc of Prescott Street. There is some discrepancy as to what time the teens were shot with WCCO saying around 6:30 p.m. and KSTP reporting around 4:30 p.m.

The first shooting victim was a 14-year-old boy, who police say was shot in the back on the sidewalk. The victim was listed in critical condition at Gillette Children's Hospital Sunday morning.

The second victim, a 17-year-old boy, was found shot in the leg at a home. He was taken to Regions Hospital, but was leased soon after.

Police say they are not sure whether the shootings were related. Since Saturday, five people have been arrested in connection with the shootings.

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Food Recall Affects Meat Sold At Target Stores

A New York City company is recalling more than a quarter of a million pounds of meat and poultry after learning that it was contaminated with the Listeria bacteria.

According to the U.S. Agriculture Department the recall includes several brands of fresh and frozen products purchased from Gourmet Boutique, which is located in Queens.

The recall includes some types of chicken salad and sandwhiches whi were sold under the companies name, Gourmet boutique, and some frozen burritos and wraps sold under "Jan's" and the Target stores brand "Archer Farms."

The bacteria was detected after sampling by federal food safety inspectors and Florida agriculture officials.

Listeria can cause fever, muscle aches and gastrointestinal symptoms such as nausea or diarrhea. If the infection is not treated, it may spread to the nervous system where it can cause headache, stiff neck, confusion, loss of balance or convulsions.

Infections by Listeria during pregnancy can cause miscarriage, stillbirth, premature delivery or infection in the newborn.

For those suffering from a depressed immune system, an infection can be fatal.

No illnesses have been reported.

Gourmet Boutique said in a recorded message to CNN that it has made "environmental changes" to prevent the problem in the future.

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April 19, 2008

Court Error Leads to Rapist Release

A man who has been charged in connection with the death of a 16-year-old girl posted bail Friday after an error was made in his sentencing.

Daniel Edwin Jones was convicted of raping 16-year-old Brittany Powell in 2000 after giving the girl Methamphetamines. Jones then dropped the girl off at a hospital where she later died. He was convicted on charges related to her death.

The state Supreme Court said that the 102-month sentence given to Jones in connection with the case was invalid because the case was determined by a judge, not a jury. The Dakota County attorney will now have to present the case to a jury.

The family of the girl is attempting to sue Jones for damages. Jones' re-sentencing will take place in June.

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43 Indicted for Marriage Fraud

Federal prosecutors indicted 43 people for being involved in an alleged marriage fraud scheme.

According to prosecutors, the operation involved the recruitment of U.S. citizens to marry Chinese nationals to provide the Chinese people with visas and other benefits given to immigrants.

Twenty of those involved were arrested between Thursday and Friday, and made their appearances in a federal court.

According to the U.S. attorney’s office, two men arranged the marriages, and have already pleaded guilty.

The U.S. citizens were paid $25,000 to enter into the marriages.

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April 12, 2008

Level 3 Sex Offender Search

The Minnesota Department of Corrections is on the hunt for a Level 3 sex offender.

46-year-old Timothy Ray VanBuren failed to meet the conditions of his release by failing to check in with authorities in Hennepin County Tuesday. An arrest warrant has been issued.

The now fugitive VanBuren's last known address is on the 2600 Block of Thomas Ave. in Minneapolis.

In 1995 VanBuren was convicted for first-degree criminal sexual conduct and for third-degree criminal sexual conduct in 2004.

VanBuren is black, 5 foot 11 inches tall and 230 pounds, with a large build.

Anyone with information about VanBuren is asked to call 911 or the DOC tipline, (651) 603-0026.

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Judge Acquits Father Over Son's Death

The father of a 7-year-old boy who was attacked and killed by a pit bull was found not guilty Friday.

Zachary King Sr. was sleeping last August when his 7-year-old-son, also Zachary King, went into the family's basement to play with the dog. The dog was tied up in the basement, but managed to seize the child by the neck. The dog crushed the boy's larynx, asphyxiating him, and severing one of the boys arteries.

King was charged with second-degree manslaughter.

"I raise my kids as best I can and the media play it like I'm something like a gangster," King said, according to the Bemidji Pioneer. "I'm not a bad person."

The dog, whose name was Face, had seven prior instances of aggression related to biting.

Hennepin County District Judge Kevin Burke said that several other people could have told King that the dog might be dangerous, including Minneapolis animal Control. However, Burke said the agencydid not attempt to classify the dog as dangerous or potentially dangerous despite knowing about the prior bites.

Burt Osborne, of the Minneapolis Animal Control, said that officers had only had contact with the pit bull twice, and choose not to label the dog dangerous because the bites were minor.

"even if we had overreacted and declared the dog dangerous on the spot, it would not have prevented what happened to that poor boy," Osborne told KARE-TV.

"The city's animal control officers can't be in basements monitoring how many hours a poor animal has been chained to a pole in the basement and sittin in its own waste," Osborne told KARE-TV, saying that investigators believe that this is the treatment the animal received before the attack.

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April 5, 2008

Three Students Dead After Wisconsin Fire

Three University of Wisconsin-Stout Students died, two of which were from Minnesota, early Saturday morning.

The two-story, double housing unit caught fire early Saturday morning, and according to University officials, firefighters arrived five minutes after being called. They found smoke pouring out from the basement, first and second floors.

The rear unit of the building was evacuated, but inside the two females and one male were discovered in second floor bedrooms. They were rushed to the hospital, where they were pronounced dead.

The University has released the victims as being 21-year-old April Englund, who is from West St. Paul, 20-year-old Amanda Rief of Chaska, and 23-year-old Scott Harms of Hayward, Wisconsin.

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Bus Crash Leaves One Dead, Dozens Injured

A female student died and dozens were injured early Saturday morning after the bus they were riding in flipped onto it's side and into a ditch on interstate 94 in Albertville.

According to State Patrol dispatcher Tom Aspling about 47 people were aboard the first of two buses carrying Pelican Rapids High School students and chaperons back to the school from a band concert in Chicago. The first bus rolled onto it's side and slid into a ditch critically injuring 4 people. The students and chaperons on the second bus were not injured.

According to Gloria O'Connell, spokeswoman for Mercy Hospital, 19 people are at Mercy Hospital, 9 are at Buffalo Hospital, 4 are at North Memorial, and 15 are at Monticello-Big Lake Hospital.

The crash occurred around 5:48 a.m. Saturday near the intersection of I-94 and Wright County Road 37 in Albertville, which is about 30 miles northwest of the Twin Cities.

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March 29, 2008

Former Gynastics Coach Charged With Sexual Assault

A former gymnastics coach from Big Lake is in jail, charged with criminal sexual conduct.

19-year-old Jordan Gregersen was arrested Thursday for the alleged sexual assault of a female minor. the incident reportedly occurred Tuesday.

The Sherburne County Sheriff's Office said that it received a complaint from the female minor. Gregersen was her former gymnastics coach at Big Lake High School.

Gregersen was charged Friday on a single count of criminal sexual conduct in the first and third degree, and is currently being held in the Sherburne County jail.

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Eden Praire Pile-up Leads to Infant Death

A six-car crash on interstate 494 Friday resulted in the death of an infant, leaving the child's father in critical condition.

Derek Sailor, 28, was taken to Hennepin County Medical Center after the crash which occurred just before 4 p.m. along with his infant daughter, Lucille. The child was pronounced dead Saturday.

Five cars were stopped at a light Friday when a sixth car changed lanes in front of those five cars. The first car in line rear ended the car which changed lanes, causing a chain reaction, according to an incident report.

Traffic was diverted to Highway 212 by the Minnesota State Patrol and Eden Prairie Police.

Seven people were involved in the accident.

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March 16, 2008

Man Arrested for Killing 2-year-old boy

A Randall man is in prison after police say he killed his girlfriend's 2-year-old son.

The Morrison County boy died from severe head trauma while in the care of 33-Year-old Robery Eugene O'Jala. O'Jala is charged with second-degree murder and first-degree manslaughter and is being held on $1 million bail.

The boy died Wednesday from his injuries that police say occurred on Monday.

The criminal complaint says that the boy was sleeping when his mother left for work Monday. O'Jala later called her saying something was wrong.

O'Jala claimed that the boy had chocked while eating, but doctors say that the boy's injuries are more consistent with being picked up and smashed down on his head. He suffered massive brain damage.

According to the criminal complaint, O'Jala later admitted that he picked the boy up by his arms and threw him down.

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March 15, 2008

Body of a Man Discovered in Red Wing Woods

Authorities said the body of a man was discovered in the woods near Hay Creek Trail in Red Wing. The body may have been in the location for at least six months.

The body was described as that of a six-foot-tall white male by Goodhue County Sheriff Dean Albers. A name found on the man may show he is not from the area, but Albers said that it may take weeks to confirm his identity.

The man's body was discovered Thursday while a man was in the woods tapping maple trees. The told police that he saw something covered with snow a couple weeks ago, but thought that it was the remains of a deer.

Albers said that melting snow exposed the man's clothing, alerting the man.

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March 9, 2008

Four-Year-Old Girl Found Safe

Authorities have canceled the Amber Alert issued for a four-year-old girl Friday.

Anastasia Jones was found safe according to an announcement Saturday by Minnesota bureau of Criminal Apprehension. The girl was found with her non-custodial mother, Miracle Flowers, 19, and Flower's boyfriend. Both Flower's and the man are in custody according to Minneapolis police.

Police say that Jones was abducted from Hennepin County Medical Center where her foster mother was with her. Flowers lost custody of both Jones and an unidentified infant.

The Amber Alert was issued based on the information that Flower's did not have custodial rights to Jones. "They felt that it was significant to take her away from her mother, therefore we felt that it was important to put this information out to the public," said Minnesota Amber Alert Coordinator Janell Rasmussen.

Jones was found early Saturday morning with her mother and mother's boyfriend in Minneapolis.

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Two Dead After Head-on Collision in St. Paul

Two 20-year-old women died early Saturday morning after their car struck a van near the Wakota Bridge in South St. Paul.

Brittany "Sarah" Stoman and Charitie Foss were driving in the wrong direction on westbound 494 around 2 a.m. Saturday when their Buick LeSabre crashed into a van head-on. The car then went head-on into a Roundy's semi-truck.

The Pioneer Press is reporting that neither of the women had alcohol in their system.

The 19-year-old Maplewood man driving the van suffered minor injuries. The 37-year-old Waupaca, Wisconsin man driving the semi truck was not injured.

Both sides of 494 were shut down for several hours so crews could clean up the wreckage and reconstruct the accident. 494 was reopened by 8 a.m. Saturday.

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March 1, 2008

25 Cars Vandalized at Cottage Grove Park and Ride

Vandals struck about 25 cars parked at a Cottage Grove park and ride lot Friday.

No arrests have been made, but police say they have some some evidence in the case and are planning to post reward money as soon as Monday.

According to Chief Craig Woorley, 26 people were victimized by the vandals who broke windows and stole items from cars.

Few items were stolen from the cars.

“It appears at this time all we have is (broken) windows,? Cottage Grove Police Capt. Brian Wilson, deputy director of public safety told the South Washington County Bulletin. “I don’t have (reports of) a lot of property that was taken at this point, but reports are still coming in. We’re still investigating; people are still going through their property.?

Police are working with Metro Transit and said they will be monitoring and patrolling the area as much as possible.

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February 25, 2008

Authorities Identify Van Driver

Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials say that they have identified the woman who gave them a fake name after a fatal bus crash.

Olga Marina Franco, a 24-year-old Guatemalan citizen, allegedly ran a stop sign last week and collided with a school bus. Four children on the bus were killed.

When she was arrested, Franco said she was 23-year-old Alianiss Nunez Morales and stated that she was from Mexico. Franco was charged with four counts of criminal vehicular homicide, driving without a license and a stop sign violation Friday.

ICE officials have filed paperwork to keep Franco in their custody until after the criminal case is concluded. Officials said in a statement sent to KSTP that they have probable cause to believe that she is an illegal immigrant. Once the state criminal case is resolved, Franco will be transferred to ICE custody to begin deportation.

"ICE agents first interviewed Ms. Franco Feb. 21 and developed probable cause that she is in the United States illegally, and that she is not using her true identity," the statement said.

It also said that Franco most likely has not had contact with ICE in the past.

"ICE agents ran Ms. Franco’s fingerprints through our databases but there was no match, which indicates that she had no prior contact with immigration officials," the statement said.

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February 23, 2008

Patrons Become Actors to Beat Smoking Ban

A loophole in the state-wide smoking ban has some patrons turning into actors.

Under the ban, performers are allowed to smoke during theatrical plays. This has lead to many local bars staging "theater nights" in which patrons participate in a show, using cigarettes as "props."

Prosecutor Brian Melton said that theater night is a "knucklehead move" and said that bar owners who schedule the events may be prosecuted.

Mark Benjamin, a criminal defense attorney who authored the idea, estimates that 50 to 100 bars around the state may have "theater nights" this weekend.

"Two weeks ago, we had one bar doing this,'' Benjamin said.

Officials as the state department say they are waiting for word from the state attorney general's office as to the legality of the events. State legislators who worked on the bill say they will likely fix the loophole.

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February 22, 2008

Woman Arrested After Fatal Bus Accident Most Likely An Illegal Immigrant

A Minnesota Woman who was arrested after her van collided with a school bus, killing four children and injuring several more, was charged with four counts of criminal vehicular homicide Friday.

The woman who is known as 23-year-old Alianiss Nunez Morales failed to stop at a stop sign Tuesday and hit the school bus carrying 28 children. Morales was charged with a stop sign violation and for driving without a valid license said Lyon County Attorney Richard Maes.

Authorities released that Morales is not the woman's real name and said they are working with Immigration and Customs Enforcement to find out who she is. ICE special agent Claude Arnold said that his agency believes that she is in the country illegally.

"The only name we have for her is the name she gave us when she was booked," Arnold told a reporter for the Associated Press. He said that authorities believe she may be from Mexico.

Morales does not have a Minnesota driver's license according to Lt. Mark Peterson of the state patrol.

Four students died in the accident Tuesday. 13-year-old Jesse Javens and his 9-year-old brother Hunter were among the dead. 9-year-old Emilee Olson and 12-year-old Reed Stevens also died in the accident.

At least 14 other people were injured in the crash including Morales and the driver of a pickup truck the bus rolled on top of.

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February 14, 2008

Minneapolis Police Investigate Second Homicide of the Year

A 70-year-old woman was found dead in her Minneapolis home on Wednesday.

Police say that they were responding to a burglary call on Wednesday night on the 3600 block of Fremont Ave. when they found the woman dead.

Signs of forced entry were reported at the home by police. Investigators found a broken window on the homes south side.

It is unclear at this time how the woman identified as Pirrko Gaultney died.

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February 10, 2008

Missing Boy Found Dead

Minneapolis Police said this morning that they have found the body of a 4-year-old Minneapolis boy who went missing Wednesday.

The Minneapolis Police Homicide unit said that the body of Demond Reed was found at 3118 Morgan Ave. N in Minneapolis. Police are investigation Reed's death as a homicide, and have taken a woman into custody.


Reed was reported missing on Wednesday. An Amber Alert was not issued in connection with the disappearance because the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension did not have a description of the vehicle that police believed a family acquaintance and Reed were traveling in. Another factor that contributed to not releasing an Amber Alert was that local media outlets had already began reporting the boy missing.

Officers say that Shawna Williams was the last person to be seen with Reed and is described as an acquaintance of the family.

Police did not say whether Williams is the woman in custody.

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February 9, 2008

Interestate 94 Reopens

Interstate Highway 94 has been reopened after being shut-down due to high winds and blustering snow.

State Patrol and MnDOT reopened I-94, which connects Fargo, ND, and Fergus Falls, MN.

Officials said that they decided to shut-down I-94 due to low visibility.

White conditions also closed Highway 2 which travels between East Grand Forks and Crookston and highway 75 in Polk County.

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January 31, 2008

St. Cloud Bishop Removes Priest After he is Charged with Possessing Child Porn

A priest has been removed from duty by the Bishop of St. Cloud after he was charged with possession of child pornography.

A Steven County District Court charged Rev. John Caskey with possession of child pornography after several images were discovered on his home computer, according to St. Cloud Bishop John Kinney. Caskey was removed from duty immediately by Kinney, who learned of the charges through an online news article.

Caskey served as the pastor of Assumption Parish in Morris and also as administrator at St. Marys in Chokio and administrator of St. Charles in Herman, but resigned in December after Kinney learned that Caskey had sent a letter with inappropriate content to another person.

Kinney said in a news release that he has not received any complaints in the past regarding Caskey.

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January 30, 2008

University Of Minnesota Student Found in River Died Accidentally

The body of 29-year-old Rachel Dow was pulled from the Mississippi River on Saturday.

According to the Hennepin County Medical Examiner’s office, the woman died from hypothermia after she plunged through the ice. Acute alcohol intoxication was also listed as a significant factor in her death.

A hole in the ice on the river brought searchers to the area where they discovered the woman’s body. The area in which the body was found was located by 38th St. and West River Parkway, said Minneapolis Police.

Dow was registered as a student at the University during the fall 2007 semester.

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