Thursday, August 17, 2000

Police: Abduction of girl didn't happen

        SYCAMORE TOWNSHIP — The Hamilton County Sheriff's Department has determined that a 12-year-old girl was not abducted Sunday night from her yard as reported to police.

        Spokesman Steve Barnett said no charges have been filed against the girl on charges of making a false statement.

        “We are continuing to investigate the incident because of some other matters,” Mr. Barnett said. “But definitely there was no abduction.”

        Police had gone to the girl's home in the 10000 block of Sixth Avenue in the township at 11:30 p.m. Sunday when it was reported that she was not home.

        Mr. Barnett said the girl came home while police were there talking with her guardian. She told police she had been abducted by a man wearing dark clothes and a ski mask who put tape over her mouth. She said she was taken to a neighborhood park, where she escaped.

Man pleads guilty
in antiques fraud case

               A Waynesville man who bilked seven antique buyers out of $21,000 by sending them replicas of collectible toy construction equipment pleaded guilty to mail fraud Tuesday.

        Howard E. Reeves, 52, faces up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine when he returns Nov. 14 to U.S. District Court in Cincinnati for sentencing.

        Federal officials said Mr. Reeves falsely advertised in Toy Trucker & Contractor magazine that he had more than 2,000 antique collectible toys to sell.

        After he sent out the merchandise, and buyers complained that the items were fakes, Mr. Reeves refused to refund their money, the U.S. Attorney's Office said.

Runaway slave
drama is scheduled

               A drama based on a runaway slave's flight into Ohio will begin at 7:30 p.m. Aug. 24 at Shawnee State University's Vern Riffe Center for the Arts in Portsmouth.

        The Escape of Jane was written by historian Henry Burnke and produced by the Becky Thatcher Theatre in Marietta last year with an Ohio Hill Country Heritage Area grant.

        It is part of a larger, free program that night, “Freedom Train, an Underground Railroad Chautauqua.”

Robber described
in Hyde Park case

               Cincinnati police are looking for a man who robbed a Hyde Park bank Monday afternoon.

        Described as white and in his mid- to late 30s, the man who hit the First Star bank on Edwards Road had dark, slicked-back hair with a receding hairline. He threatened to shoot the bank clerk.

        He wore sunglasses, a purple T-shirt with a design on the front with dark pants and light-colored gym shoes. He also had bandages on his right hand and forearm.

        The robbery was the 16th in the city this year and the 44th in Greater Cincinnati.

        Anyone with information about the robbery is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 352-3040.

Witness needed
for murder case

               Cincinnati police want help finding a murder witness they need to prosecute a man accused of being a killer.

        They're looking for Donte Harris, 18, whose last known address was an apartment in the 100 block of Glencoe Avenue in Mount Auburn. He also goes by the nickname Shorty. Homicide investigators released his picture Tuesday.

        Prosecutors filed a contempt of court charge against Mr. Harris three weeks ago after he failed to show up for a hearing in the murder case against Marcus Wilson. Mr. Wilson is accused of shooting to death Christopher Parks, 17, on Jan. 29.

        The murder case against Mr. Wilson is one of three that are threatened because of lack of witness cooperation, prosecutors said. They were forced to drop a murder charge this week against another man because a witness in that case cannot be found.

        Time is crucial because Ohio law allows police to hold a suspect in jail for no more than 90 days before bringing the case to trial. After 90 days in custody, the suspect cannot be charged again for the same offense. The murder charges can be filed again if the witness is found.

        Anyone with information about Mr. Harris is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 352-3040. Tipsters can be rewarded with up to $1,000.

County fair animals
cited in E. coli case

               CLEVELAND — The number of people infected by E. coli bacteria in northeast Ohio rose to 14 Tuesday, and a health official said children petting animals at the Medina County Fair seems likely to be at least one source of the contamination.

        “As far as we know at the moment, the common denominator seems to be petting animals at the fair and then eating or drinking — children putting their hands in their mouths without washing,” Medina County Health Commissioner David Baldwin said Tuesday.

        The Ohio Department of Health on Monday said there were six confirmed cases of E. coli O157:H7 infection in northeast Ohio. The health department increased the number to 14 Tuesday afternoon.

        The people infected are between 15 months and 67 years old. They first noticed symptoms between July 31 and Sunday, said Randy Hertzer, a health department spokesman.

        E. coli can cause bloody diarrhea, severe abdominal cramping and, in the worst cases, kidney failure.

        Mr. Hertzer cautioned strongly against concluding that the fair was the first and only source.

        Although at least four of the initial cases were in children who had been to the fair, that is not true of all the cases, he said. Mr. Hertzer wasn't sure of the exact breakdown.


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