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Nation in brief: Parents to plead guilty in hoax

Fort Collins, Colo. – The parents accused of pulling a spectacular hoax by reporting that their 6-year-old son had floated away aboard a helium balloon have agreed to plead guilty in a deal that could send them both to jail but protect the wife from deportation.

Richard Heene will plead guilty today to attempting to influence a public servant, a felony, said his attorney, David Lane. Heene’s wife, Mayumi, a Japanese citizen who could be deported if convicted of more serious charges, will plead guilty to a lesser charge of false reporting to authorities, a misdemeanor.

‘Cathouse’ worker may be fire victim

Oklahoma City – The owner of a Nevada brothel featured on the HBO reality show “Cathouse” said Thursday he fears one of his employees is among the four people whose bodies were found in a burning house in Oklahoma City.

Dennis Hof, the owner of the Moonlite BunnyRanch near Carson City, Nev., said he has not spoken with Brooke Phillips for more than a week and is unable to reach her. Hof said Phillips’ aunt and a close friend believe she is one of the victims of Monday’s fire.

Hof said Phillips left the legal brothel two months ago because she was pregnant. Authorities said Thursday one of the victims was pregnant, and have previously said the fire was intentionally set and ruled the deaths homicides.

Ida’s remnants batter Southeast

Norfolk, Va. – A drenching, wind-driven rain lashed much of the Atlantic seaboard Thursday, flooding streets, closing schools, roads and bridges and causing at least five deaths.

The torrential rains and winds gusting more than 30 mph were the work of late-season Tropical Storm Ida, which quickly weakened once it made landfall on the U.S. Gulf Coast on Tuesday but still soaked a swath of the Southeast.


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