The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil,
but because of those who look on and do nothing.

~~~ Albert Einstein

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Andrew Burd, Burns or Bites?

Andrew Burd, a happy well adjusted four year old foster child was removed from the foster home he'd spent 18 months in, and placed with Larry and Hannah Overton. The only reason for the move was the Overton's had started proceeding to adopt Andrew, who they had learned about from their church.

Andrew's adoption would never be final, and the once lively, bouncing little boy would be dead just months after his placement in the Overton home. As a result of his death, both Larry and Hannah Overton were charged in connection to his death- the state alleged that Andrew had sustained abuse at the hands of the Overtons, and on October 2, 2006 Hannah Overton gave Andrew a lethal concoction of a sodium based seasoning mixed with water. After Andrew fell ill from the extremely high levels of sodium that were forced into his body, Hannah and her husband called various people, including members of their church. They failed however, to call 911. And they failed to seek proper medical care for Andrew for almost two full hours.

The state won a conviction against Hannah Overton. In turn, her church decided to raise funds to appeal her conviction. They also set about to discredit the states case against Hannah- in both the news media and online. In doing so, Free Hannah, the website behind the movement was formed.

I will not link the site, a search in Google will quickly take you to it. However, I feel it is important to deal head on with the false information they have attempted to pass off as "Truths" in this case.

These are direct quotes from their site, blockquoted so you know they are NOT my words.

Lie: Hannah tortured Andrew by burning him with cigarettes.

Truth: No one in the Overton home smoked, no cigarettes were ever found, and numerous witnesses testified that Andrew incessantly picked at scabs and mosquito bites until he bled. Mosquitoes in Corpus Christi, amazing. Additionally, Dr. Melenik, a medical expert who is board-certified in wound interpretation, testified that these were sores that had partially healed and then been picked at.

Along with attempting to sell this misinformation as the truth, these supporters have also attempted to mislead people into believing that these 'sores' as they call them were never even mentioned until after the trial.

In reality, the Doctor that preformed the autopsy on Andrew testified in Hannah Overton's criminal trial that these "sores" were in fact burns. In his testimony, there is no mention of cigarettes as a possible means of inflicting the burns- rather he describes possible ways in which a burn such as Andrew's would have occurred- minus the actual element that was used.

Court testimony regarding the burns is located here.

Perhaps, someone should point out that whether the Overton's burned Andrew with cigarettes (which they deny) or some other object (which we contend)- it's still abusive. And it's still something a child should never be subjected to.

I plan on continuing to report on this case. Because of the depth of the case itself, and the immense representation of "facts" in the case- I am currently planning on introducing evidence to fight the lies, one lie at a time. This will be in no particular order, and is subject to change if I find an easier way to handle this. Until then, if there is a certain part of the case which you would like to discuss sooner rather than later - please leave it in the comments and I can rush it up in the list.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

And a little salt

Andrew Burd spent most of his short life in foster care. He lived with his biological mother for the first two years of his life, before being put into foster care and in the home of Sharon Hamil. The 18 months he spent with Sharon Hamil he was a happy, well adjusted healthy little boy. She had grown children, and her son and daughter in law spent nearly every day with Andrew, and having the benefit of being special education teachers, never saw any problems with him. His foster mother believed that Andrew needed the benefit of being raised in a family- she was widowed and couldn't provide a father figure to the small boy. And so Andrew left her home, and was placed with Larry and Hannah Overton who began the process of adopting him.

The Overton's had a strong religious faith, 4 children of their own and by all appearances seemed to welcome another child into their hearts. You'll read a lot about Hannah, how she loves her children, how she's always put her children first. You'll hear about Hannah Overton, and through the words of her supporters you'll see the perfect mother. A shining example of how a parent ought to be. You'll also hear how she had studied to be an EMT, and LVN- giving her some basic knowledge of medical information.

But this is about Andrew. The four year old boy with a smile that could melt anyone's heart. It's about a little boy tossed into this world on a path that no child should have to take. And, it's about how he died.

In May of 2006, Andrew had a visit as required by CPS- what they refer to as a Wellness Exam. That day, he saw Dr. Cortes who examined him, and wrote a report indicating that Andrew was both mentally and physically healthy. Part of the exam included reporting on Andrew's basic health- how his diet was, how his growth was, a complete physical fitness check. Under "eating disorders" the response was none. Andrew was reported to sleep through the night, in his own bed. He was potty trained and could take care of his basic needs for himself. By all accounts, Andrew was a healthy boy. He approved him as "fit for adoption" by the Overton's. No objections were made to the report, and no one reported any problems they might have thought Andrew had.

By October of 2006, Andrew's health would be questioned. He'd be labeled as having had an eating disorder- he'd be said to have had an endless appetite, always craving more and more food. There would be claims that perhaps he was diabetic, and reports that he'd had his blood sugar tested for 12 weeks prior to his death, and the results were consistent with diabetes. Hints that he might even have suffered from PICA were tossed around. That he often engaged in self mutilation. **In an effort to fully research this case, I requested any information that would back these claims of blood testing and PICA. None was provided.

What happened to Andrew depends on who you ask, and although there are a few common threads in each sides story- the two sides would stake everything on convincing people it was their side that was right. A deserved conviction, or a wronged grieving mother.

On October 2, 2006 Hannah Overton claims that Andrew, on yet another eating binge, began demanding more food despite having just eaten. She, not wanting to give into his request for more food decided to put- according to her- a few sprinkles of Zatarain's seasoning in a sippy cup filled with water. Hannah says she then offered the cup to Andrew, who liked the chili flavor and accepted the water. In the hour and a half after he drank the water, Andrew fell gravely ill. He had trouble breathing, vomited and was said to have displayed severe flu like symptoms. Hannah made a series of phone calls, looked up "shock" in her EMT training book, preformed a breathing treatment on him, checked his vital signs, and finally as he fell in and out of conscientiousness an entire hour and a half later- took him to an urgent care facility. She never once called 911.

From the urgent care facility Andrew was taken to a local hospital, as the urgent care was unable to treat his life threatening condition. Hannah would reportedly make comments like 'she knew it was too much' and could be heard praying to God to make Andrew healthy again.

Andrew's life abruptly ended, and an autopsy concluded that he died of sodium (salt) poisoning and listed a secondary contributing factor of blunt force head trauma. Treating health care workers also noticed bruising on Andrew's body, along with a small, circular injury that was festering on his arm. Testing would conclude that Andrew's sodium level was 240mmol prior to receiving any bolo solutions, and that the sore on his arm was consistent with a burn.

The Overton's were arrested in connection with Andrew's death.

According to arrest affidavits, one of the Overtons' biological children told investigators Hannah Overton watched Andrew on a security camera in a bedroom and used food and pepper as a form of punishment. A neighbor, who lives in the 5900 block of Parkview Drive, told investigators Hannah Overton called her about 2:52 p.m. that day and asked her to watch one of her children because Andrew was intentionally vomiting and defecating and "smearing it everywhere."

"He is not sick, he is doing it to get to me," Hannah told the neighbor, adding he had defecated eight times, the affidavits said.

Police also reported there were signs the boy slept on a piece of plywood in the home. (SOURCE)

Dr Alexandre Rotta, the Pedi Care Doctor who treated Andrew determined that based on his sodium levels, Andrew would have had to digest 23 teaspoons of Zatarain's, a far cry from the 2 or 3 teaspoons that Hannah claims she gave him. Once his levels of sodium raised to a toxic level, he would have suffered difficulty breathing, vomiting, stomach pain, gagging, low blood pressure, and shock. For nearly an hour and a half, Andrew would have been in agony while Hannah waited to take him to get medical attention.

Larry Overton took a plea deal, which allowed him to remain out of jail to care for his remaining children. Hannah Overton took her chances with a trial.

(SOURCE) During the trial, Overton, a former licensed vocational nurse, admitted she gave Andrew a cup of water mixed with spices but said it wasn't to punish or harm him.

Her attorneys also argued Andrew had behavioral problems and an eating disorder and ingested something on his own to cause the toxic sodium levels.

Sharon Hamil, Andrew's foster mother for the 18 months before he lived with the Overtons, said she remembered a much different boy.

Hannah was convicted of of capital murder and sentenced to life in prison.

But the case doesn't end there. Despite the clear signs of abuse- Andrew's favorite bedding was burned in front of him, the festering burn mark on his arm, the statements by his foster siblings that he was often punished by being forced to consume pepper, bruises and scratches in various stages of healing from sleeping on plywood, and even the last fatal act of abuse when he was denied timely medical treatment after being poisoned- Hannah's supporters raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for her appeal. The church she belonged to quickly went on the attack- not at Hannah for her treatment of Andrew, but at the prosecutor who handled the case, the witnesses that testified against her. They started a full on war of words- using blogs and new stories to garner support for Hannah.

Hannah Overton and her highly paid lawyers have a defense for every claim against her:

The burn mark was just an infected scratch. Andrew didn't have insurance to cover medical care- although the paper work had been completed- but she'd taken one of her own children to a doctor for an appointment, and when she mentioned the burn the doctor had suggested treating it with Clorox.

His bedding was burned because he'd soiled it, and although it was his favorite bedding, they'd already bought him new ones and just had not put them on the bed.

He'd only been forced to sleep on the plywood for one night, and after some time was given a sleeping bag for it.

Since he'd had this ongoing eating disorder, someone had suggested lacing his food with a flavor he didn't like. Turned out, he liked the chili flavoring, and so it was put in the water to appease him.

The "pepper" the other children said was used to punish Andrew was mistaken. The family drinks Dr Pepper and often just call it Pepper, which caused confusion for the kids.

That fatal day, Hannah just thought he had symptoms of the flu, and so she repeatedly called a nurse hotline, called friends from her church, looked up shock in her medical books, gave him a shower, took his vital signs... and then as his body began to fully shut down she took him to an urgent care facility.

For everything there is an excuse, a reason as to why what most people would see as abuse, Hannah sees as nothing more than a mother doing her job.

Dozens of news media organizations have picked up Hannah's story- from 20/20 to Christian News Sources. They've picked up Hannah's story, her version of how a child declared "healthy and fit for adoption" one month, could end up dead less than six months later. But it's Hannah's story they have picked up- not Andrew's.

No one wants to talk about Andrew's story, about the suffering he endured, the incredible pain he would have been in the last day of his life. They don't mention that the 23 teaspoons of Zatarain's he would have had to have ingested was almost 100 times the recommended serving size (1/4 teaspoon), which introduced almost 24000mg of salt into his body at 240mg per serving. How, in making Hannah some sort of saint, they've made Andrew a child that was wild, and flawed. They've went as far as to claim that perhaps Andrew- suffering from his never mentioned before eating disorder- might have found a moment alone in which he on his own consumed so much salt that it caused the fatal toxic levels in his blood. The bruising on his head that was listed as a secondary cause of death? Well, that wasn't really what it seemed. Perhaps someone rubbing his head, and the onset of his death caused it. Really, it could have been anything.

There is more to Andrew's story, but sadly, it may be washed away by a flood of support for the woman who was responsible for providing him with care, love, and protection- the woman who didn't fulfill that responsibility.

Hannah's conviction is currently under appeal. You can write letters of support for the conviction to the Appeals Court:

13th Court of Appeals: Corpus Christi Site Nueces County Courthouse 901 Leopard, 10th Floor, Corpus Christi, Texas 78401 - Telephone: (361) 888-0416 Fax: (361) 888-0794

And offer letters of support to the DA's Office who prosecuted the case:
District Attorney's office in Corpus Christi -- Or mail them at Nueces District Attorney; 901 Leopard St.; Corpus Christi, Texas 78401

This is a case which requires your attention. Your support for a child who was wrongly denied the right to live, for a conviction that ensured justice was served, for the prosecutors who fought endlessly to give a voice to a victim who could no longer speak for himself.

*Note: Because this is an ongoing case, and due to the large amount of information pertaining to the case, I will continue to post information, and explore the case more in depth. I would have loved to have been able to present all the information now, but there is a clear need for your support- and I wanted to be able to share as much as possible as quickly as possible. Please check back for more information.

Other posts on this case, by other bloggers:

Salt in the wounds: The death of Andrew Burd and the movement to ...
Salt in the wounds: The death of Andrew Burd and the movement to free his killer. by Trench Reynolds on January 23rd, 2009. Do you know what I hate? Well, most things really but I have something specific in mind today. ...
Shared by: Trench 23/1/09
Stop Child Molesters: Justice for Andrew Burd
I was over reading Lost in Lima Ohio's blog and she has the story of little Andrew Burd. This story is chilling to say the least. Little Andrew Burd thought he was going to be adopted by a wonderful christian woman, Hannah Overton. ...
Shared by: Carisma ~~ 23/1/09
And a little salt - ......Lost In Lima Ohio: A True Crime Blog ...
And a little salt - ......Lost In Lima Ohio: A ... - Andrew Burd spent most of his short life in foster care. He lived with his biological mother for the first two years of his life, before being put into foster ...
Shared by: ~~ 23/1/09
blonde sagacity: Does A Foster Child Have Less Chance of Justice?
"Honesty is my only excuse..." View my complete profile · 100 Things... EMAIL ME · Wikio - Top of the Blogs - Politics · The Drudge Report · Free Republic · World Net Daily · News Busters · Conservative Grapevine · September 11, 2001 ...
Shared by: ALa ~~ 23/1/09
Blog of the Night : Stop The ACLU
Shared by:
Stop the ACLU~~ 24/1/09

Hannah Overton Deserves to Die in Prison « Red Alerts
Shared by: Red Alerts~~ 24/1/09

America's Most Wanted This Week

This week, the following cases will be airing on America's Most Wanted. You can catch AMW at 9pm on your local Fox network on Saturdays.

Darryl Crenshaw: Deputy U.S. Marshals say accused Connecticut girlfriend-killer Darryl Crenshaw slipped into Mexico to escape from authorities. But an AMW tipster remembered seeing that familiar face in a Mexican jail -- and helped take Crenshaw down.

Marjan Rroku: When two teenage Albanian sisters met Marjan Rroku at a Bible study group, they thought he was a great guy. But five years later, he had taken the life of one sister and sent the other fleeing to the US. After a close encounter on a Washington D.C. Metro train, police fear the killer is in pursuit again.

Paul Buford: Deputy U.S. Marshals in Detroit say they're hot on the trail of an elusive gang member, wanted for his role in the upper echelon of the Black Mafia Family criminal organization. Paul Buford has a long, violent criminal past, and he's the only fugitive not yet captured as a result of the DEA's first wave of national BMF arrests.

Jose Sastre-Cintron: Police say when a man known as Jose Sastre-Cintron proudly flashed his gun at a house party in Harrisonburg, Va., people knew there'd be trouble. But no one could have guessed just how much: before the melee was through, cops say Sastre-Cintron would shoot an 18-year-old girl, steal a car, and disappear into the night.

Greg Adrian: Cops in the City Of Angels are on the lookout for a father accused of physically and sexually abusing his own 12-year-old daughter in November of 2007. When Adrian's daughter blew the whistle on his latest string of abuse, police say he fled to Vegas. Now, Los Angeles detectives believe that Adrian is in the north Las Vegas area and could be traveling in a 1990's, red, 4-door Honda sedan.

Danny Williams: Cops say that Danny Williams shot two unarmed men after a neighborhood barbecue. Now, police need your help to get this armed and dangerous thug off the streets.

Unknown Sandra Brady Killer: It was one of New Mexico's most mysterious unsolved Jane Doe cases: a pair of hikers found a murder victim, buried in a shallow grave in the unforgiving desert. But when AMW brought you the story two weeks ago, a tipster called our hotline and helped cops crack the case. The "Boots" Jane Doe now has a name: Sandra Jean Brady.

Robert Fisher: Cops in Scottsdale, Ariz. say Robert Fisher murdered his entire family and blew up their home to cover his tracks. Police are working a few promising leads and they're re-analyzing some of the physical evidence recovered from Fisher's abandoned getaway to get a better DNA profile.

Unknown Phillip Washington Killer: Dallas money courier Phillip Washington, 50, was brutally killed while he made his last stop of the night a year ago, and his tragic death was caught on surveillance tape. Now, one of his old friends -- a prominent local journalist -- has come to to get his family some justice.

Cameron Pitre: According to cops, Cameron Pitre murdered his ex-girlfriend on Nov. 23, 2008. Police say Pitre had become increasingly hostile, and Ashley Hardey, his ex-girlfriend, was very cautious in his company. Despite her wariness, Ashley was murdered when police say Pitre forced his way into Ashley's home and shot her multiple times.

Robert Blue,

Location: Las Vegas, NV, USA

Robert Blue believed that his 165 lb daughter weighed too much, and he was intent on her being able to weigh around 145 lbs for her mixed martial arts division. At first, he claims he attempted to chain the pantry closed, but when that failed to stop the girl from eating, he decided to chain her to her bed.

On and off for two days, Blue's 15-year-old daughter was chained to her bed. She was found beaten and in tears -- all because Blue thought she was overweight, according to a police report.

Blue, 53, was also arrested for beating his daughter with a wooden stick and kicking her, police said.

Blue has prior charges of child abuse for which he was convicted, and admit to police that he'd been known to beat his children with a stick for their training.

Blue also stated he didn't think he had committed a crime and that he was acting in his daughter's best interest.

Police said a counselor at the 15-year-old's school claimed the girl was chained up.

Blue was charged with false imprisonment, child endangerment and child abuse.


Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Breathing Out the Ghost: Kirk Curnutt

I recently had the pleasure of reading Kirk Curnutt's new novel- Breathing Out the Ghost. Even as I was flipping open the first pages, I was a little reluctant. I read true crime, and had to wonder just how this was going to compare. Since the revolving plot in the story is based on every parents worse nightmare, a murdered child who was likely sexually abused by a serial molester, I had some doubts that the characters could pull off conveying the emotional roller coaster such an experience would bring.

The book brings three people together in a web tangled with pain, suffering and heartbreak. A mother, Sis Pruitt, still reliving the loss of her teenage daughter years earlier, a father,Colin St. Claire, burning every bridge in order to embark on mission to discover what happened to his son, and an private investigator,Robert Heim, burdened by the belief that he has a responsibility to help on this cross country journey.

By the middle of the book, it was apparent that Curnutt had not only created believable characters, he'd infused such intense personalities in them that they became real people, suffering real pain. Not only did the main characters give the story a true to life feel, but the background characters could easily remind you of this person or that person.

Despite the hard subject of the book, Curnutt has done a wonderful job bringing the story to life, without the over reactive nature some works of fiction. The novel takes you through the characters on every emotional level- anger, love, guilt, fear, denial- with a very real feel to it.

For those that like the passion and "realness" of true crime books, this book will have you hooked. And for those that want to close the book at the end of the night and sign with relief that it was all make believe- this might be as close to the feeling of true crime as you can get.

Thanks to and Kirk Curnutt.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

This Week on America's Most Wanted

The following cases will be airing Saturday at 9pm on your local Fox station:

Esnel Jean: North Miami detectives will never forget the gruesome sight of a woman and two children killed and buried in a homemade crypt. They say the man behind the horrific murders is Esnel Jean, a Haitian voodoo priest. Jean remains the focus of an international manhunt and they need your help to help capture him.

Bradley and Luann Chase: Bradley Chase is back in Indiana after eight years on the run. Chase and his wife Luann were captured in October after appearing on Fifteen Seconds of Shame. It only took AMW viewers 12 hours to capture the duo after they got the publicity they never wanted.

Yaser Said: They say he killed his daughters. In a crime that shocked the nation, two young women were found shot to death in the back of a taxi, and their father is one of the nation's most-wanted men.

Joseph Quartieri: It looked as if AMW tips had heated up the cold case of a mobster accused of almost killing a cop in a botched robbery in 1979. But when the leads started to unfold, U.S. Marshals were in for a strange twist.

Lance Atkins: On Sept. 10, 2008, while attending a birthday party, cops say Lance Atkins got into a heated argument with his sister's boyfriend, Corey Bowman. Cops say Lance got angry, pulled a gun and shot Corey before fleeing the scene.

Anthony Thomas: The U.S. Marshals are hunting a man who they say has a terrible obsession: child pornography. Cops say Anthony Thomas, of Lafayette, La., looked at child pornography websites on his work computer, and a grand jury handed down an indictment against him, but now he's nowhere to be found.

Ricardo Rivera-Torres: Police are looking for Ricardo Juan Rivera-Torres, who they say killed a man in a botched Harrisburg, Pa. robbery. Police say they've rounded up Rivera-Torres' co-conspirators, and now they need your help to take down the last man standing.

Ronald Jackson: Cops in Henrico County, Va. say a brazen daytime break-in left one man seriously injured and another man on the run from law enforcement. Cops say Ronald Jackson is wanted for breaking into a neighbor's home and stabbing his victim seven times with a screwdriver.

Unknown Tim Edwards Killer: After just one visit to Montana Del Oso Ranch in New Mexico, Tim Edwards knew he had found a place to retire. Captivated by the scenery and sunsets, Tim and his wife Lynn moved to the ranch from Arizona, but the land was hiding a deadly secret.

Ramon Gaspar: Police say a 29-year-old woman was resting at a Los Angeles hospital after a surgery when a male nursing assistant, Ramon Eduardo Gaspar, entered her room and molested her.

Unknown Silver Nugget Shooter: On June 25, 2006, someone opened fire inside the Silver Nugget Casino in North Las Vegas, Nev. Cops need you to look at the surveillance video, and they need your tips to bring the shooter to justice.

Adji Desir: Adji Desir, a 6-year-old developmentally disabled Florida boy, has been missing since Saturday, Jan. 11, 2009. Police need your help to bring him home to his family.

Unknown “Cheerleader Letters” Author: Dozens of mysterious letters containing a powdery substance are popping up all over the country and federal agents, including the FBI and the U.S. Postal Inspector, are on the manhunt for the sender -- who has been deemed a domestic terrorist.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Bad Guy, Good Guy

Location: Chicago, IL, USA

A little free love advice from me, to all the stupid and lovesick people out there:

When attempting to hook up with a woman, it's a bad idea to get so annoyed over her lack of interest in you that you devise a plan to attack her, and then 'rescue her' shortly afterward. Trust me, it's a very bad idea... especially if there's a chance she might figure out who you are.

Donquila Butler, 29, a hospital security guard, was ignored each of the numerous times he waved to another hospital employee who worked in the records department. By Sunday, he was fed up, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.

Donning a ski mask and hood, Butler went to the victim’s work area, grabbed her by the throat and said, “Shut the f—- up before I kill you right here,” police told the Sun-Times. When other hospital employees saw the incident, he reportedly ran off only to return minutes later without the mask and hood to “rescue” the woman.

Oh yeah, that one is a real winner, isn't he?

Sunday, January 11, 2009

I knew everything in Texas was bigger....

Location: Jasper, TX, USA

For years, I've heard the bragging from Texans about how *everything* in Texas is bigger- regardless of what it is. And, I'm amazed to say that evidently there is something to that little rumor.

Everyone has sex offenders, and everyone has creepy demented bastards- but following Texas's claim to fame- it turns out that their very own Thomas Louis Van-Hook is a bigger freak than most.

Thomas Louis Van-Hook, a registered sex offender convicted of exposing himself to small children has a history of enlightening people about his disturbing criminal intentions. Take for instance when he decided to write to P&G, the makers of Huggies Diapers about his thoughts on their product ads.

The Examiner also obtained a copy of a letter that Van-Hook wrote in 2004 to the Procter & Gamble Company, the makers of Pampers Diapers, where he requested that the company do more to show the genital areas of children. The head of corporate security for Procter & Gamble sent the letter to the Jasper County Sheriff’s Department.

Van-Hook provided a dozen scenarios on how he thought Pampers should film their commercials in the 7-page letter. One scenario was that Pampers’ commercials should show a little girl laying on a couch for a diaper change and the cameras could show her, “with her little legs wide open.”

Van-Hook also suggested using pampers baby wipes on girls as old as nine. In his closing paragraph, he write, “there should not be a problem of your showing a nine-year-old girl’s beautiful, pretty little hairless …”

Despite his conviction, despite his vulgar past behaviors, Van Hook evidently decided that just being a pervert wasn't enough- he had to act out his twisted perversions too. And so, he posted a letter offering babysitting services- specifically indicating his preferred age group and that the children should be 'female only'.

For the past week or more, residents of Jasper County had noticed advertisements posted at various places throughout the county offering babysitting services for $12 per weekend — but the ads solicited the babysitting services for “Females only” and requested their ages be “11 months thru 9 years.”

Law enforcement, despite knowing Van Hook's status as a registered sexual offender can not legally charge him with anything, until it appeared that a two year old girl left in his care may have been assaulted.

But because Van-Hoot was off parole, had completed his sentencing requirements and had no stipulations to stay away from children, law enforcement officials were having a difficult time trying to find a way to charge him with a crime.

“We know where he is and we are waiting on a judge to sign the warrant,” Scott Duncan, a Jasper County Sheriff’s Department investigator told The Examiner on Friday.

The Examiner was told by a law enforcement source on Friday that a 2-year-old child may be Van-Hook’s latest victim.

“From what I was told they began investigating this after a little girl was left with him,” said The Examiner’s source. “Because she is so young she can’t make an outcry and unless he injured her the exam isn’t going to reveal anything.

“He is out there actively trolling for fresh victims. And because he has served his time, I am not sure what we can do about it until he victimizes another child. This guy is a sick bastard.”

The likelihood that Van Hook has victimized any child related to his babysitting offer is about as high as the amount of children he's actually been able to babysit since putting the sign up. He's openly advertising his willingness to sexually assault a child- and yet, because of the way laws are written, until there is a known victim, there's not a real crime.

Now- the article is a little confusing as it says he's been 'taken into custody at his residence' and yet also says that they are waiting for a warrant from a judge, making it appear as if there's not been any charges brought that could result in him already being jailed.

Either way, for a week this man advertised for children, and for a week there was little that was done about it. About makes you sick, doesn't it?


Saturday, January 10, 2009

AMW, US Marshals go after molester

Location: San Diego, CA, USA

Both America's Most Wanted, and the US Marshals have set their eyes on Frederick McLean... an alleged child molester from San Diego who they believe victimized numerous children over a 20 year span. The 57 year old former car restorer and avid outdoorsman was first investigated in 2004 when a member of The Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses went to police and reported that he'd sexually abused her as a child.

Police say that McLean left town in a small dark-colored pickup truck, but that he also may have a 1955 Chevy hot rod, which could possibly still be in a storage unit if he hasn't sold it by now.

Authorities maintain that he may have changed his physical appearance and purchased a new set of identity documents. He is also believed to have armed himself with a gun.

Police say that McLean could still be in north San Diego County or Riverside County areas. They also speculate that given his extensive outdoor experience he could also be in the Cuyamaca Mountains or in the Anza-Borrego desert regions. US Marshals say that McLean would probably be living alone or in an isolated situation although acquaintances say that McLean is likely to keep an eye on his family from afar. --AMW

According to San Diego 6 news, US Marshals have now stepped up their search for McLean, and are asking for anyone with information on the alleged child molester to come forward.

The U.S. Marshals Service in San Diego stepped up its manhunt Thursday for an alleged sexual predator on the agency's 15 "most wanted" fugitives list.

Authorities asked the public for help in finding Frederick McLean, 57, who is sought on multiple counts of sexual assault on a child.

Supervising Deputy U.S. Marshal Steve Jurman of the San Diego Fugitive Task Force said "multiple counts" is an understatement.

In my own rambling- Of more interest than just being an outdoorsman, McLean was a former Elder at The Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses, and used his position in the cult to prey on victims ranging in age from 5 to 11. Given the tight network that the congregations offer, and the far reaching arms of the 'church'- it's a world wide organization... McLean showing up in a community and portraying himself as a member of the church using a fake name shouldn't be seen as out of the realm of possibilities. AMW described him as someone who should be "considered armed and dangerous and may be desperate in his need to sexually molest young girls." JW's trusting and closely knit fellowship would give him ample chances to find a congregation to blend in with, and quickly establish a level of trust in which he could continue his deviant crimes.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Robert Musmacker

Location: Garden City, NY, USA

Robert Musmacker doesn't care that he was engaging in illegal activity with minors, he doesn't care that he was already a registered sexual offender prior to his most recent arrest- and evidently the demented predator doesn't care that his reckless behavior could easily cost the lives of his victims.

Musmacker was required to register as a Level 3 sex offender under Megan's Law because of a 1992 sodomy conviction involving a 6-year-old relative, said a spokesman for Spota. He was released from prison in January 2001.

He was stopped by a state trooper on the Southern State Parkway in West Babylon at about 6 a.m. on Dec. 28 with the 16-year-old, who was not identified, in the passenger seat. The trooper noticed that Musmacker's belt was undone, authorities said.

Musmacker possessed AIDS medication, which he said was for treatment of "full blown AIDS," the prosecutor said. He also advised the officer he was taking antibiotics to treat an open lesion in his mouth.

LE officials believe that the current victim could possibly be only one of many, and are continuing to investigate. Details on the boys relationship with Musmacker, or that of possible other victims was not released.


Gina Barton, Fatal Identity

Please welcome Gina Barton, who writes for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and is my latest guest blogger. I'm currently reading her book- Fatal Identity, and am looking forward to sharing my thoughts on it with you, but in the meantime, I've invited her to introduce herself to you.

Her website can be found at, and for those who don't want to wait for my thoughts on the book- you can find copies available via Amazon.

From newspaper series to true crime book

By Gina Barton

Within my first week on the job at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, my editor handed me a short article about a headless, handless body found near the border of Wisconsin and Michigan.

“I know you like to do crime narratives,” he said. “This looks like it might be a good one.”

That was back in 2002. The body had been identified as that of a local man, Timothy Wicks. The police had a suspect in custody – but they weren’t charging him with murder. As soon as I started researching the life and times of Dennis Gaede, the suspect, I was hooked. His past had included using multiple stolen identities in Canada as well as some undercover police work here in Wisconsin. And while parts of Wicks’ body had been found in Wisconsin and Michigan, police believed he had been killed in North Dakota.

The newspaper series that became the book took two years to complete. During the reporting process, Gaede was in prison in North Dakota for insurance fraud. After I’d kept tabs on him and written him letters for months, he finally agreed to an interview. After that, the woman he’d been married to at the time of the crime, Diana Fruge, spoke with me as well. While Gaede spun one yarn after another about his colorful past, Fruge told me she had witnessed Wicks’ murder.

My editors were brave enough to run a five-part series on the murder in 2004, even though murder charges still had not been filed. When Gaede ultimately was charged, the paper sent me to North Dakota to cover both the trial and the sentencing. Only after Gaede was convicted did I realize I had a book on my hands.

I once read that the best way to finish writing a book was one page a day, one day at a time, and that’s how I wrote Fatal Identity. It’s the kind of story that proves truth is stranger than fiction. Now that it’s done, I’m on the lookout for the next one.

America's Most Wanted

There will be no new episode of America's Most Wanted this week, however- there are new cases I'm sure you'll be interested in catching up on, as the AMW team has been hard at work on them.

Unknown Bennie Angelo Killer: Bennie Angelo was a patriot who served his country in its time of need during World War II, and he survived the attack on Pearl Harbor. But more than 65 years later, on Jan. 7, 2007, Ohio cops say the 87-year-old was ambushed by violent robbers in his home. The attackers not only stole the contents of Bennie's home safe, they took Bennie's life and they set a fire to cover their tracks.

Unknown Riggs Park Jane Doe Killer: Cops in Washington, D.C. say that someone took a young woman's life and threw her body in a dumpster like a piece of trash. Now, they need your help to find out who she was -- and who killed her.

Also, next time you’re browsing around, check out the My Story section. It gives victims an opportunity to write a letter to AMW and have it read by those who visit the site.

While you’re there, check out the AMW Rundown where Producer Jenna Naranjo sits down with AMW staff to give visitors a weekly update on our biggest cases.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Merry Christmas...

I've often mentioned that some people just shouldn't be entitled to having the privilege of being parents. Sharon Wessel is one of those people.

On December 24th, her 11 year old daughter received second and third degree burns from a propane heater which was being used to warm their otherwise unheated home. The child had been standing next to the heater, when her pjs caught fire, undoubtably causing the child extreme pain. In fact, the pain was so severe that almost three weeks later, she was screaming in pain from the burns when a neighbor heard her cries and called police. Upon their arrival, they called for medical assistance- in what was the FIRST attempt to give the child proper treatment since the accident.

The girl was transported to Wishard Memorial Hospital and then Riley Hospital For Children on Tuesday. Police said she had to be carried from the home because she could not walk. The girl's mother told police she used moisturizer to try to help heal the burns.

"There was no way she was not in pain every day and there was no way that any type of treatment that they used on her would not cause serious pain," said Detective Genae Gehring.

Sharon Wessel, 35, told Rinehart that she was sorry as she was being arrested on Wednesday.

Heather Wessel underwent surgery on Wednesday. She was last listed in critical condition. Doctors told police it's possible she could lose her legs.

Moisturizer? For second and third degree burns? That was the BEST she could come up with? I suppose, given that Wessel allowed a convicted child molester to share a home with her two children- that we really shouldn't be shocked at the level of depravity this woman must have, but still- I can't even fathom anyone believing that simple moisturizer would actually replace medical treatment for that sort of injury.

Fredrick and Sharon Wessel were each preliminarily charged with one count of felony child neglect resulting in serious bodily injury.


Monday, January 05, 2009

Do NOT Step on me DUDE.

Location: Ohio, USA

Four year olds in Ohio aren't as sweet and forgiving as they used to be... especially if you are their 18 year old babysitter, and you step on their foot, and they know the gun is kept in the closet.

Police say an angry 4-year-old Ohio boy grabbed a gun from a closet and shot his baby sitter.

Eighteen-year-old Nathan Beavers was hospitalized Sunday with minor wounds to his arm and side after the shotgun attack. Police say another teen was also injured.

Full story...

James Howard Bell, Pastor, Predator, HIV Postive

Location: Shelbyville, KY, USA

James Howard Bell should know just how many commandments he's been breaking lately- since he's a pastor at Refuge Temple Church of God in Christ. Evidently, he needed the the rules to be a little more specific, as in 'don't molest children' 'don't attempt to spread HIV around'.

According to an arrest citation obtained by WLKY, Bell went to police and confessed to several sexual encounters with a 15-year-old.

"He apparently probably had thought at some point in time someone was going to come to us before he did," said Kentucky State Trooper Ronald Turley.

Bell's neighbors are baffled by the allegations.

"It's hard to believe that he done something like that, being a minister and all that, you know," said William Simons.

Besides sexual abuse and sodomy, Bell is also facing a wanton endangerment charge. Police would not release the details of the case, but according to court documents, Bell confessed that he "knowingly withheld the fact that he is HIV positive from the juvenile and did not use protection during these encounters."

I suppose this man was attempted to have a little redemption by turning himself in, but in truth it's just more likely that he decided to do it, before someone else turned him in. Not really an act of saving grace- but I suppose it might help out in sentencing down the road- although I loath the idea that he'd receive anything other than the very max.


Family pet chopped in half by Samurai sword

A family is mourning the loss of their 7 year old mini chow after it escaped from their home and wondered into a neighboring yard and was, reportedly, cut in half with a Samurai sword.

Neighbors say the Reynolds' dog, "Puppy," wandered over to a New Years gathering down the street and that's when the suspect (who isn't being identified just yet) picked up a sword and brutally attacked the dog.

"I heard it was worse than that," Paul Reynolds said, "I heard one blow nearly chopped my dog in half."

Calcasieu Parish Animal Services Director, Rita Cavenaugh said, "We got one report that the dog tried to bite the man. But, that doesn't sound right. Normal behavior when a vicious dog is around is to retreat."

Animal service workers working the case described it as "one of the most horrific animal cruelty cases I've seen in Calcasieu Parish".

The dog was 7 years old, had arthritis, and was a miniature mix breed... just how does one justify chopping it in half, in a claim of self defense?


Robert Rozenti, Illegitimate Asshole

Robert Rozenti, the self described illegitimate son of an elderly Port St. Lucie woman was such a jackass of a bastard that he allowed his mother to live in conditions unfit for animals, let alone for the woman who gave him life.

Paramedics told police they noticed a strong odor of feces and urine throughout the house, according to the police report. Paramedics told police she was covered in her own feces and had it under her fingernails. They also said she was very malnourished and had not been bathed for some time.

According to the police report, Chuboff told police she lived with her son, whom she said often yelled at her and uses the "F" word a lot.

As if the lack of nutrition and medical care wasn't bad enough, the woman reportedly had been wearing her shoes for such a long period of time that her feet had literally grown into them.

Rozenti has been arrested and charged with neglect of an elderly person.


Sunday, January 04, 2009

A Slaying In the Suburbs-- The Tara Grant Murder

I recently had the chance to read A Slaying in the Suburbs, The Tara Grant Murder which chronicles the relationship of Stephan and Tara Grant from their first moments together to the heinous ending of what often appeared to be a perfect marriage. To be frankly honest- this was a case I'd had enough of halfway through the media frenzy and quickly began making sure I flipped the TV channel whenever a network even hinted at another update coming in. Sometimes, it's best to wait until it's all said and done before drawing conclusions- which has proven true once again after reading the book.

Reporters Steve Miller and Andrea Billups worked together on the book, bringing new depths to the saga that millions watched unfold in early 2007 thanks to non stop coverage by local Michigan and national news outlets.

Through interviews with family members, former friends and even Stephan Grant himself, Miller and Billups have presented an intense portrait of Stephan-- from his wayward actions as a young boy to his ability to pull off the murder of his wife and shortly afterward remind his would be lover that she owed him a kiss- without missing a step.

For those who watched the case unfold on the news, new details in the story may have you questioning what you thought you knew- the dynamics of the Grants relationship, the affirmation by family members of Tara that this was a relationship with ongoing domestic abuse by Stephan, and cast a strong shadow of doubt on so called "absolute truths" regarding the relationship and even murder of Tara.

Tara, far from being a wall flower is shown to be a highly motivated woman, compelled to succeed at all costs. Even as a young girl, she displayed an intense desire to become an accomplished something, even if she didn't exactly know what that would be. She, ever filled with ambition, never appears to be that battered and abused woman so many now cast her as. That's not to say it didn't happen- just that those around her pictured her more as a strong willed fighter, to involved in her pursuit of success to ever be dominated.

Stephen, the so called 'mastermind' of a murder so hideous that it shocked even long time law enforcement officials, comes off more as a depressed loser always condemned to play second fiddle to his wife's growing success. If he was any more pitiful, you might feel sorry for him- if not for the fact that he murdered his wife and cut her up into pieces. While he was often cast as a plotting cold blooded murderer, he comes off too aloof to plot something as simple as an affair- let alone a detailed murder scheme. In the entire book, the only ones that seem less capable than Stephen is the many law enforcement officials who blundered away the case at every given chance.

The book, detailed and provocative, puts the entire Grant relationship in a new light- adding the pieces of the story that the mainstream news cautiously left out. A glimpse of the torn relationship- decorated by text messages and emails to ex lovers, flings and such from both parties; the fallout over time spent away from the family on Tara's part; even the rocky nature of past relationships and life lessons seemed to have played a part in turning what many considered a perfect relationship into a dreadful made for the movies murder.

In the end beneath the repulsion for Stephan's crime, there's a lingering hint of sympathy for the man who undoubtedly married above his class, above his ambition, and above his eventual level of success. His goals seemed to be complete just by marrying the attractive ambitious brunette... her's seemed to grow ever bigger by each mark of success she accomplished.

The murder was, as told best by the authors- impassioned but unplanned.

At this best, his thinking was was chaotic, his actions impulsive," she defended, setting the stage for doubt that his actions were premeditated. "Things were done in excitement, fueled by jealousy, anger, fueled by remarks made, angry, mean spirited words, meant to wound, were exchanged between the two. His thinking that day was out of control, not measured, not considered, and certainly not planned."

She had planted the best seed she could. This was a marriage on the rocks between a wife who was accomplished and driven and a husband who felt neglected and demeaned. Steve reacted in the heat of the moment, then ran scared and bumbled as he tried to cover his tracks. He was no cold blooded psychopath but an enraged, dismissed husband who snapped.

Not that murder was ever a viable acceptable option, but somehow in reading the book you begin to get a glimpse of the twisted way Stephan justified his reaction after the fact. While the murder itself wasn't seemingly premeditated- almost every action after, regardless of how down right implausible and lunatic and badly planned was accomplished as quickly as the idea to handle it that way could bounce into Stephan's mind.

The book, well written with insightful details and missing the "shocking" Nancy Grace misconceptions and irrelevant theories, does a good job of telling the actual story- without the false hype that so many of us caught from the mainstream media. It's well worth picking up a copy of.

The book can be purchased via Amazon, and for those interested there is a Facebook group for the book available here.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Million Dollar Molster

Cameron Joseph Baca, a former coach accused of molesting four boys, is currently sitting in jail. Baca has been detained with a million dollar bail, after charges that he sexually abused the boys, who range in age from 11 to 13. Police say Baca befriended the families of the boys, and then used his relationship to prey about them.

Cameron Joseph Baca, 27, of San Clemente, requested that his arraignment be delayed until Jan. 9, said Susan Schroeder, a spokeswoman for the Orange County District Attorney's Office. Baca was arrested Wednesday and is being held on $1 million bail. He has also requested a bail hearing on Jan. 9, Schroeder said. Baca is charged with 11 felony counts of lewd acts on a child under 14, four felony counts of distribution of pornography to a minor, and one felony count of attempted lewd acts on a child under 14, prosecutors said.

Danny Platt

Danny Platt didn't like the idea of actually having to support the child he helped bring into this world. And, although many men feel themselves having the same annoyance that "OMG they actually are expected to pay child support for their own offspring", Platt's irritation at the idea went past the normal reaction. Police say that after he had the child for visitation, a right he'd had but repeatedly shunned, he alerted police that men with AK-47's had kidnapped the child. While his story started filling up with more holes than Spongebob- Platt decided to confess the truth to LE.

Riley said Platt eventually confessed and told officers where to find the body.
At some point, Platt had openly said he'd either kill his former wife or the child, in an effort to avoid having to pay support, although there are no details to when the comment was made. Police are not releasing cause of death, or injuries the child may have received while in Platt's custody. SOURCE.

Friday, January 02, 2009

Jose Malanche

The Fresno police Chief called Jose Malanche's actions "most brutal assaults in the City of Fresno". During a press conference, Police Chief Jerry Dyer informed area residents that Malanche's crimes would land him in prison for at least 28 years in prison and could possibly receive a life sentence. He's accused of raping and severely beating an elderly lady on May 4th.

On December 24th, Malanche’s DNA was linked to the assault following a court order to obtain it. Malanche confessed to the crime when police detectives interviewed him on December 30th. He was already in custody on rock cocaine charges.

Jamie Eugene Jacinto

Parents taking their children to a Corte Madera bookstore had to be sure they kept an extra cautious eye on their children, after two different incidents where a man at the bookstore molested children visiting there. Police say Jamie Eugene Jacinto, 32, was arrested for the incidents, and is currently being held on charges of suspicion of lewd and lascivious acts with a child under 14.

According to Twin Cities police, a man reached under an 8-year-old girl's dress at a Barnes & Noble bookstore in June after she didn't answer whether her parents were nearby. Police also believe Jacinto may have exposed himself to a 5-year-old girl at the bookstore last month.
Jacinto escaped capture after the two incidents, but police received a tip on a possible sighting of him on Dec 23 at the same Barnes and Noble store and were able to locate him.
Source After further investigation, a search warrant was obtained for Jacinto's home, and police found enough evidence inside the home to obtain an arrest warrant for him as well.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Baby's body found

Location: Milton, FL, USA

Home owners made a gruesome discovery when their pet dog showed up with the body of an infant after exiting a wooded area near their home.

Sheriff's deputies say they arrived at the house around 4:00 p.m. Monday and confirmed it was a baby's body that was found. Investigators are not releasing the baby's gender but did say the infant was not born in a hospital. The medical examiner's office has the body and is conducted an autopsy to determine the cause of death. Santa Rosa County Sheriff's Department Spokesperson Scott Haines said, "One of the main things they're going to be looking for is if the child was in fact alive or deceased when it was left at this location. We'll be able to tell that through an autopsy as well as any other injuries or anything like that."
At this point, police are attempting to locate information on who the mother might be, along with information on whether the child was dead prior to being left in the location. They are requesting anyone with information to contact the department.
If you have any information about who the mother is, call the Santa Rosa County Sheriff's Office. Haines said the department has received several tips but are still looking for more. Authorities want anyone who has information that could help to identify the newborn should call the Santa Rosa County Sheriff's Office at 850-983-1100.

Barry Williams Gets Arrested.... again

Location: Bullhead City, AZ, USA

Barry Williams, a registered sex offender, has been arrested again after police say he bought drinks for underage girls and then convinced them to dance semi naked in his home, while he video taped them. He's also accused of touching one of the minors, and exposing himself to them.

Williams was arrested Tuesday on one count of indecent exposure to a minor, one count of attempted molestation of a minor and two counts of sexual exploitation of a minor. He's being held in Mohave County jail.

Christina Robledo

Location: San Jose, CA, USA

Police in California are searching for Christina Robledo after ruling the death of her infant was caused by "asphyxia due to overlay during bed-sharing,' police believe that Robledo was under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol when she rolled over on the child and killed her. Full Story.

I'm not a pimp...

Chris Johnson was working with an escort- 'providing security for her' as he claims- back in August while she went to visit a 'client'. During the duration of the visit, the 'client' began conversing about a 10 year old girl, and the conversation was overhear by Johnson via an open microphone the escort was wearing. Due to the details of the conversation, Johnson became uncomfortable and contacted police, who arrested the 'client'. All was right with the world, until a local news source picked up the story, and ran it with the notion that Johnson was a pimp. Johnson was not happy at the description.

Our blog post provoked a profanity-laden response from a Phoenix apartment manager, Chris Johnson, (not pictured -- just to be clear), who tells us he's the so-called "pimp" in the case. Except he's really not a pimp, he says. And, according to his comment, our blog post was "tripe" and he wants to "come down there and slap the shit out everyone I see." Johnson published his first name and cell phone number on his comment and dared us to call him so he could tell us "fuck you." We called him anyway -- sometimes you just gotta say "what the fuck."
Keep reading.. it gets better.