What’s news in the Northwest today:
TACOMA — The Point Defiance Zoo in Tacoma says a Sumatran tiger cub that nearly died two weeks ago has recovered. The zoo staff is now calling her “Miracle Mali.” The 6-month-old cub underwent emergency surgery Nov. 15 for an intestinal blockage and went into cardiac arrest. She was revived, but zoo veterinarians feared she had brain damage. The zoo says Mali has regained her eyesight and now is jumping around and acting like a normal tiger. She was reunited Tuesday with her mother and brother.
Sitter to face manslaughter charge in boy’s death
COEUR D’ALENE — A baby sitter accused of killing a three-year-old boy in North Idaho will face a lesser charge of involuntary manslaughter. Kootenai County prosecutors sought to charge 26-year-old Amanda L. Skogen with first-degree murder, punishable by up to life in prison or the death penalty. First District Court Magistrate Judge Clark A. Peterson ruled Wednesday that while Skogen’s actions had “incredibly grievous” consequences, they did not amount to murder. Prosecutors say Skogen was on her knees when she violently shoved Cohen Johnson on Oct. 4, causing him to fall back and hit his head. She confessed to shoving the boy after he wet his pants.
2 Gert Boyle kidnapping plot suspects legal in US
PORTLAND, Ore. — Two foreign-born suspects in the alleged kidnapping plot that targeted Columbia Sportswear Chairwoman Gert Boyle were in the United States legally at the time of their arrest. The Oregonian reported that federal immigration officials have lifted holds on the two men, but no details were given. A third suspect in the case remains on immigration hold. None of the three men appears to have a criminal record. If convicted of crimes, the two men cleared of immigration holds could become eligible for deportation. All three remain in the Clackamas County Jail, charged with kidnapping, criminal conspiracy, burglary and robbery. Last month, the 86-year-old Boyle was confronted by a man at her house who demanded money and jewelry before Boyle pushed a silent panic button, bringing police.
Idaho suspect in wrong place, at wrong time
TWIN FALLS, Idaho — An Idaho man wanted on a parole violation found himself in the wrong place at the wrong time when police began surveillance at his motel, looking for another man. Authorities were searching for 29-year-old Russell Wageman on Tuesday when they got a tip he was staying at the Branding Iron Motel in Twin Falls. Police say Wageman violated his probation following a conviction for possession of a controlled substance. Officers followed a man who matched Wageman’s description and bolted after he spotted police, who eventually caught the man thought to be their target. But police soon learned they had apprehended another man, 42-year-old Patrick VanWert Jr., who told police he ran from them because he was also wanted on a warrant for a parole violation.
Injured hunter survives 4 days in Central Oregon forest
BEND, Ore. — A Prineville elk hunter is recovering at a Bend hospital after spending four days and three nights stranded in the Ochoco National Forest. KTVZ reports 48-year-old Alan Hewitt went elk hunting on horseback on Thanksgiving but was injured in a fall. He endured freezing temperatures and survived on a small bag of beef jerky until he was found Sunday by Darrel Hover of Bend and his father. They thought they saw a red backpack in the snow. It was Hewitt. They took him to a hospital. The Crook County sheriff’s office rescued Hewitt’s two horses.
Montesano soldier facing criminal charges at Joint Base Lewis-McChord
JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. — The Army is holding another hearing Thursday at Joint Base Lewis-McChord for one of the 5th Stryker brigade soldiers accused of misconduct in Afghanistan. The hearing will determine whether Spc. Adam W. Kelly of Montesano will face a court martial. He’s charged with assault, using a controlled substance and impeding an investigation. Kelly is one of seven soldiers accused of conspiracy or attempting a cover up. Five other soldiers accused of killing three Afghan civilians are charged with murder.
Ellensburg off-roader fined $2,000 for damages
CLE ELUM, Wash. –A 22-year-old Ellensburg man was ordered to pay $2,000 to help restore a Reecer Creek meadow that he extensively damaged with his pickup. Jose Mora Villanueva, 22, was charged in U.S. District Court in Yakima with damaging the land through off-road use of a vehicle. The case was filed in August after off-road enthusiasts reported to the Forest Service that they saw pictures of the damaged area posted on a Craigslist advertisement where Mora was trying to sell the truck. The Forest Service said it has a zero-tolerance policy for illegal “mudding.” A Wenatchee man was sentenced two years ago to nearly two years in prison for a similar incident.
Police-killing case going to jury in Tacoma
TACOMA — The trial of four people accused of helping Lakewood cop-killer Maurice Clemmons is expected to go to the jury today in Tacoma. The four friends and relatives of Clemmons are accused of giving him medical care, clean clothes, transportation and other help after he gunned down four officers in November of last year in a Parkland coffee shop. Clemmons was killed two days later in a confrontation with a Seattle officer. Rickey Hinton, Eddie Lee Davis, Douglas Edward Davis, and Letrecia Nelson are charged with rendering criminal assistance. Two other people have already been convicted of criminal assistance, and the man accused of being the getaway driver is scheduled for trial in June on four counts of aggravated murder.
Weather holds up Boise River-bound steelhead load
BOISE — It’s not every day that conditions are too wet for fish. But it happened in Idaho. Heavy snow and rain in the region delayed the last planned shipment of steelhead of the year, slated to arrive today for stocking in the Boise River. Steelhead and salmon from the Pacific Ocean once spawned naturally in the Boise River, before they were stopped by hydroelectric projects, water diversions for things like mining and irrigation, pollution and overfishing. Now, they have to be trucked in for anglers. But the last trip of the season has been delayed at least 24 hours while Idaho Department of Fish and Game officials reassess weather and road conditions.
Human remains found in burning truck at Tacoma
TACOMA — Firefighters have found human remains in the cab of a semi-truck that burned near the Port of Tacoma. Assistant Chief Jolene Davis says dispatch received a call about 2 a.m. today of two explosions. Firefighters found the burning tractor-trailer rig outside a trucking company. After they knocked down the flames, they found the human remains. Davis says police have been called to help with the investigation.
North Idaho city seeks $36,000 from failed candidate
COEUR D’ALENE — Officials in Coeur d’Alene say a failed city council candidate who sued them over his 2009 loss now owes them $36,000 in legal costs. Jim Brannon lost to incumbent Mike Kennedy by five votes and disputed the results of the election in a district court lawsuit. A judge sided with Kennedy in September, but narrowed his win to three votes. The Coeur d’Alene Press reports city officials will needs to prove Brannon’s election challenge was frivolous in order to recoup their legal costs at his expense. But Brannon, who is appealing his case to the Idaho Supreme Court, says his challenge was valid. The city council is expected to decide next week if the city will cover the $105,000 in legal fees that Kennedy accrued while defending his win against Brannon.