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Nation in brief: Four more bodies found in desert

Tue., Feb. 24, 2009

Four more bodies have been uncovered from the mesa west of Albuquerque, including a fetus found inside its mother’s skeleton, bringing the total remains found in the area to 10.

The search for bodies began 2 1/2 weeks ago after hikers discovered some remains in an area recently razed for a housing development.

Since then, teams of detectives, anthropologists and medical investigators have excavated an area 10 yards by 30 yards, uncovering some bones in graves and others scattered either by animals or the development project, Albuquerque Police Chief Ray Schultz said Monday.

Police suspect one person is responsible for burying the bodies because of how close the bodies were found together in what was a remote area when the bodies were estimated to have been buried, between 2000 and 2005.

Only one set of remains has been identified. Those bones belonged to Victoria Chavez, whose family provided dental records when they reported her missing in 2004.


Bed part used in jailbreak

Eight inmates used part of a bed to chip through a wall and escape from a south Mississippi jail, the sheriff said Monday, but six had been recaptured by the afternoon.

Marion County Sheriff Berkley Hall said the breakout was discovered about 5:40 a.m. and he believes the escape was between 3 a.m. and 4 a.m. The inmates apparently turned the bed piece into a tool and had been working on chipping away at the wall for some time.

“This didn’t just happen overnight,” he said. “This is something they’ve been working on.”


Priest found guilty of embezzlement

A jury convicted a Florida priest on Monday of stealing from his church, but the panel found that he embezzled far less than the $488,000 prosecutors charged.

The Rev. Francis Guinan, 66, was found guilty of second-degree grand theft of more than $20,000 but less than $100,000 after less than four hours of jury deliberations.

Prosecutors claimed the clergyman from St. Vincent Ferrer Catholic Church in Delray Beach used the money to fund a lavish lifestyle that included trips to the Bahamas and Las Vegas, jewelry and home furniture.

Guinan faces up to 15 years in prison and will remain jailed until his March 25 sentencing. He had been charged with first-degree grand theft, which carried a sentence of up to 30 years.

Guinan was accused of taking the money during the 19 months after he became pastor in September 2003.

The priest who preceded Guinan at the church pleaded guilty to first-degree grand theft last month. The Rev. John Skehan, 81, who had been at the church for 40 years, is set to be sentenced next month for taking $370,000.

From staff reports

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