Arrow-right Camera


In brief: Task force tracks down federal inmate

Authorities Saturday arrested a federal inmate who walked away from a scheduled medical appointment on Spokane’s South Hill several days ago.

The U.S. marshals-led Pacific Northwest Violent Offender Task Force arrested Sandra Irene Duffy, 47, in north Spokane about 2 p.m.

Through “investigative sources and anonymous information,” the task force determined Duffy’s whereabouts, according to a U.S. Marshals Service news release. Duffy was booked into the Spokane County Jail.

On Jan. 10, Duffy walked away from a doctor appointment after she was furloughed on a court order that allowed her to go to the appointment with her attorney.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Cynthia Imbrogno issued a warrant for Duffy’s arrest on Thursday.

Duffy was originally charged in July with conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine. She also has a history of escape, having eluded authorities for two days in 2008 after she leapt off a bridge into the Wenatchee River.

Woman says husband held her hostage

A Whitman County woman told authorities she came home Friday to find her estranged husband waiting for her, armed with a gun.

The Whitman County Sheriff’s Office arrested Frank R. Toupal, 61, of Tucson, Ariz., on suspicion of burglary, felony harassment and first-degree assault, according to a Sheriff’s Office news release.

Deputies responded to the Steptoe, Wash., home about 6:50 p.m. Friday. The victim said Toupal held her at gunpoint for 30 minutes before she convinced him not to kill her, the news release said.

During the investigation, authorities learned Toupal flew up from Tucson earlier that day, rented a vehicle and drove to the victim’s home. They believe his plan was to kill her before turning the gun on himself, the news release said.

Toupal was arrested at the Wingate Hotel in Spokane and taken into custody without incident. He is being held at the Whitman County Jail.

The investigation is continuing.

Bill would let students work on farms

YAKIMA – Washington lawmakers want to free up students during the school year to work as farmhands.

A measure introduced Friday would authorize the state Board of Education to allow school districts to adjust the 180-day school year in ways that free students to work in agriculture.

Yakima Republican Rep. Norm Johnson says the measure would also potentially free millions in previously allocated money for transportation of farm workers, according to the Yakima Herald-Republic.

He said the bill is open-ended and leaves it up to schools to allow farm work as a senior project or colleges to match credits for the labor.

Orchardists in Central and Eastern Washington lost portions of their apple crops due to a shortage of fruit pickers.


Click here to comment on this story »