December 27, 2004 in Region

Briefly

Compiled from staff and wire reports The Spokesman-Review
 

Parishioners ordered to end vigil at church

Natick, Mass. A vigil at a parish slated for closure by the Boston Archdiocese ended Sunday when police sealed off the 114-year-old church following its final Mass and told parishioners to leave.

About a dozen parishioners had resumed the vigil at Sacred Heart Church on Sunday after two church members had been arrested following Christmas Eve Mass on Friday night.

The closure is part of a reorganization in response to low attendance, a shortage of priests and financial pressure caused in part by the clergy sex-abuse crisis in the Roman Catholic Church. The archdiocese is shutting down or consolidating 83 churches this year.

Detained passenger victim of identity theft

Key West, Fla. An airline passenger whose identity apparently had been stolen by someone on a federal no-fly list was detained Sunday before his fingerprints cleared him, the FBI said.

The Delta Air Lines flight from Colombia was diverted to Naval Air Station Key West, and the passenger and his luggage were removed from the plane before it continued to its destination of Atlanta.

After fingerprinting the passenger, immigration officials and FBI agents released him. The flight arrived in Atlanta early Sunday evening.

Noted heart surgeon, 45, commits suicide

Little Rock, Ark. Dr. Jonathan Drummond-Webb, a heart surgeon whose work was the focus of a television series and who implanted a miniature heart pump in a child, was found dead Sunday of sui- cide at age 45.

Drummond- Webb took an overdose of medication and left a note for his wife, who discovered his body, according to Arkansas Children’s Hospital. The hospital said friends believe the surgeon suffered a sudden bout of depression.

Drummond-Webb, chief of pediatric and congenital cardiac surgery at the hospital, earned a national reputation. In 2002, his work was the subject of a four-part ABC News documentary. The network had said it was attracted by Drummond-Webb’s record at the time: 830 surgeries in 18 months with only a 2 percent mortality rate.

In September, Drummond-Webb performed the first successful implant of a miniature heart pump in a 14-year-old boy with a heart defect, keeping him alive until a heart transplant was possible. The teen was released from the hospital Thursday.

Dr. Jonathan Bates, of Arkansas Children’s Hospital, said Sunday: “Some would say they saved 98 out of 100. He looked at it and said, ‘I lost two out of 100.’ ”

This time, online casino buys naughty kids’ gifts

Houston An online casino that bought a cheese sandwich said to bear the Virgin Mary’s image and a cane sold to vanquish a young boy’s fear of ghosts has paid a man $5,300 for his naughty children’s Christmas gifts.

The Pasadena, Texas, man said last week he had decided to auction three Nintendo DS game systems because his sons, ages 9, 11 and 15, had misbehaved.

Antigua-based GoldenPalace.com agreed to bid on the game systems if the family promised to donate the proceeds to charity. The family said it will buy a new heater for its church and pay for other renovations. The casino plans to donate the game systems to a needy Houston family.

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