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Archive for September 9th, 2014

DNA Evidence Brings FBI Closer to Solving Decades-Old ‘Gypsy Hill Murders’ Case

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

 The brutal killing of five women in the San Francisco Bay Area beginning in 1976 became known as the “Gypsy Hill Murders.”

Now the FBI has a person of interest in the unsolved murders because of a cigarette butt recovered from an unrelated crime scene, the New York Daily News reports.

Halbower began serving time in prison in Nevada on a rape conviction in 1976.

But new DNA evidence suggests Halbower may have been involved in the murder of Michelle Mitchell, whose death was pinned on Cathy Woods.

Woods faces a new trial because of the latest DNA evidence.

“It’s a set of circumstances that kind of came together perfectly and that’s, a lot of the time, what breaks cases,” Reno Deputy Police Chief Mac Venzon said.

FBI Investigating Body Donor Program in Portland Following Similar Probes in Detroit, Arizona

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

 The FBI is investigating a body donor program in Portland following similar probes in Detroit and Arizona.

Oregonlive.com reports that the FBI launched an investigation into Legacy Health.

But authorities are tightlipped about the probe of Legacy Health.

“Other than confirming that there is an FBI investigation into the Legacy Body Donation Program, there isn’t much more I can say,” said FBI special agent David Porter, a spokesman in the bureau’s Detroit field office.

The investigation involves health screenings of the bodies and failure to notify families of how bodies were being used, Oregonelive.com reports.

Rumors have put a negative light on body donation services.

“People are confused. They just want to verify that we’re not one of those organizations they’ve read about,”  Corrina Patzer, director of business services for Lions VisionGift, said. “It impacts transplants, it impacts donations.”

The investigation appears to have its roots in two similar cases in Detroit and Arizona.

FBI, CDC Investigating After TSA Agent Attacked with Syringe in Nigerian Airport

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

 The FBI and CDC launched an investigation after someone attacked a federal air marshal with a syringe inside the Lagos, Nigeria airport on Sunday, Fox News reports.

The air marshal, who was on the public side of the airport, was injected with an unknown substance.

He and his team were whisked back to the U.S. with the syringe.

“The [air marshal] reported that the subject stuck him with a syringe and it is believed he was injected with an unknown substance,” according to an alert from the TSA. “After consultation with the consulate and physicians, the [federal air marshal] was given precautionary medication.”

An FBI spokesman added: “Out of an abundance of caution, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention conducted an on-scene screening of the victim when United Flight 143 landed in Houston early Monday morning. The victim did not exhibit any signs of illness during the flight and was transported to a hospital upon landing for further testing. None of the testing conducted has indicated a danger to other passengers.”

Lawsuit Seeks to Name Border Patrol Agent Who Shot, Killed 16-Year-Old in Nogales

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Civil rights lawyers are suing federal government to force the disclosure of the name of the Border Patrol agent who shot and killed a 16-year-old teen in the back.

“This is an extraordinary request by the government and just one more example of how the Border Patrol attempts to shield its unlawful actions from the public. The rule of law demands transparency—that’s all we’re asking for,” said Lee Gelernt, deputy director of the ACLU’s national Immigrants’ Rights Project in a news release.

The body of Jose Antonio Elena Rodriguez was found about 40 feet from the border near the port of entry in Nogales.

Border Patrol said the agent was responding to rock throwers, but a witness disputes that.

CBP has agreed to release the name of the agent, but only if the identity is kept hidden from the public.

“The public interest in knowing the identity of a federal agent sued for the use of deadly force during his official duties is paramount,” attorneys wrote.

Internal Report: Homeland Security Fails Adequately Prepare for Potential Pandemics

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Although Homeland Security has received $47 million to prepare for potential pandemics, federal authorities are far from ready and properly trained, according to a federal audit, the Washington Post reports.

The Homeland Security inspector general found numerous problems, including the imminent expiration of antiviral drugs and a failure to find personal protective gear.

“A severe influenza pandemic presents a tremendous challenge, which may affect millions of Americans, cause significant illnesses and fatalities, and substantially disrupt our economic and social stability,” the report said. “It is DHS’s responsibility to ensure it is adequately prepared to continue critical operations in the event of a pandemic.”

The audit found that 81% of the department’s antiviral drugs are set to expire next year.

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