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Entries in Milwaukee (4)

Sunday
Mar242013

Missing Milwaukee Girls Found, But Questions Remain

Comstock/Thinkstock(MILWAUKEE) -- Two Milwaukee girls who went missing on Saturday night were dropped off at a police station on Sunday afternoon.

The parents of the two sisters, aged 9 and 4-years-old, told police that the girls went missing shortly after they were put to bed on Saturday night. An Amber alert was never issued, but the FBI was there to assist in the search efforts, which included dozens of squads and K-9 units.

Even though the girls are now safe, several questions remain. There was no sign of a forced entry into their bedroom. Also, it isn’t clear who dropped them off at the police station miles away from their house.

Police said that they were not in their pajamas when they arrived at the police station, and it’s believed that they were in fact dressed for winter weather in coats. This seems to be at odds with the parent’s claims that they had been put to bed.

Police are still piecing the case together.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Jan042012

Milwaukee Medical Examiner Creates Website to ID Unknown Corpses

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(MILWAUKEE) -- A Milwaukee medical examiner is using new media to identify forgotten victims in old, cold cases.

Mike Simley, a forensic investigator in Milwaukee County, Wisc., built and launched an online database of unidentified deceased bodies that have been in his morgue for up to 30 years, awaiting a family member or friend who can claim them as their own.

"I was just desperate to get people identified," Simley said.  "Everyone is born with an identity and deserves to die and be put to rest with the same thing, rather than as a Jane or John Doe."

The database is filled with photos of the unnamed deceased that viewers can scroll through to see if they recognize any faces.  The website even includes a section for unidentified infants and fetuses found abandoned and deceased.  Many of the images, Simley acknowledged, are gruesome.

"I talked with the chief medical examiner here.  We see this stuff on a daily basis, but people who don't have to deal with death all the time. Obviously it would not be an easy thing for people to see, deceased individuals," Simley said.

He created the website to have multiple warnings and disclaimers about the types of pictures featured.

"I structured this website so you have to jump through some hoops, and read a big warning about what types of pictures they are, and a description of why I'm doing this (before you see the photos)."

[Click here to see the website]

Simley said he doctored some photos, changing the color or fading some details, to make up for natural body decomposition and make it a little bit easier for the public to view.

He hopes that through his website and a national database of unidentified bodies and missing persons family members will recognize a defining characteristic of their relative and contact his office to arrange burial.

Simley said he knew of only one other jurisdiction that had a similar website -- Clark County, Nev. -- which had some success matching bodies with family members.  The Milwaukee website has not yet had a match since its launch in mid-December, he said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Oct102011

Woman to Be Charged with Stealing Fetus, Killing Mother

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(MILWAUKEE) -- A Milwaukee mother of three who allegedly faked a pregnancy is expected to be charged Monday with the murder of a pregnant woman and stealing her fetus. She is also expected be charged with the male fetus' death, authorities said.

The victim of the gruesome attack was identified as Maritza Ramirez-Cruz, 23, the mother of three children, who was just days away from giving birth.

The Milwaukee district attorney's homicide unit is reviewing the case.

"We are anticipating criminal charges to be filed at some point later today," Kent Lovern, deputy district attorney, told ABCNews.com Monday.

The suspect, who has not been identified by police, called 911 Thursday to claim that she had given birth, but that her baby boy wasn't breathing.

"During the ensuing investigations, detectives determined that the 33-year-old suspect was not in fact the birth mother of the baby," Milwaukee Police Chief Ed Flynn said at a news conference.

The baby died, and according to ABC News affiliate WISN, the suspect -- who neighbors say had claimed to be pregnant -- even fooled her boyfriend into believing the child was his.

Last week he wrote on his Facebook page, "My child was born yesterday and he died an hour after birth. He would have been so cute. My woman is shattered, she doesn't stop crying."

The suspect is the mother of three other children, neighbors said.

On Friday, police found the body of the Ramirez-Cruz in the suspect's basement.

"Evidence at the scene indicated that she had been fatally injured there and that the baby had been removed from her womb by force," said Flynn. It's unclear why Ramirez-Cruz was at the suspect's house.

Neighbors who lived near the suspect told WISN they were shocked.

Jacqueline Bonilla told WISN, "There's no way, shape or form somebody should hurt somebody else and take somebody's baby just to have one for themselves."

Neighbor Nicole Soto, interviewed while holding her 1-year-old son, had thought the suspect was pregnant.

"She was rubbing her belly all the time. She was telling everyone she was, she was getting bigger," Soto said. Keila Perez, who shares a backyard with the suspect, told the station, "It's horrible I can't even -- I can't think of it I just can't see her doing anything like that."

"She's the godmother of my daughter, she has three beautiful kids that she raised by herself and she's been basically married for four years," said Perez. "To me she's a good woman, she's never been in no problems."

Police don't believe Ramirez-Cruz knew the suspect, who likely acted alone.

The rare crime generated headlines a few years ago when a pregnant woman—also 23-years-old— was murdered in Worcester, Mass. Her baby was later found alive in a New Hampshire hospital.

In this case, however, Christian Mercado, the husband of Ramirez-Cruz, must now plan two funerals.

His stepmother, Darla Guiterrez, spoke to NBC affiliate WTMJ on his behalf because Mercado does not speak English.

"He wants everybody to remember that she was a good person. She never did anything bad to anybody and she would help anybody out if they needed help," Guiterrez said, adding that the family did not know the suspect.

"We still can't believe it. We know it's true but we can't believe it and the whole family is taking it real hard," Guiterrez said.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Aug112011

Riot Fear: Could U.K.-Style Destruction Happen in the US?

CARL DE SOUZA/AFP/Getty Images(PHILADELPHIA) -- With riots breaking out across the U.K., some are wondering if the unrest could spread to America.  Already in the past few months, youth mobs have wreaked havoc in Philadelphia, Milwaukee, and Cleveland.

The rioting in Britain, now entering a sixth day, has prompted authorities to add 16,000 police in the streets of London.  Mob rule has taken place across the capital and quickly spread to smaller British cities, including Manchester, Birmingham, and Liverpool.  On Wednesday, three men were killed when they were hit by a car while reportedly defending their neighborhood from looters.

Now that youth mobs in Philadelphia have led to new government action, questions remain: why is this happening, and what is the likelihood of such activity amongst American youth?

The city of Philadelphia has now begun a coordinated response to flash mobs and teen violence that has recently plagued the city and terrorized residential areas.

On June 23, a few dozen young people looted several hundred dollars worth of merchandise in the Philadelphia suburb of Upper Darby, Pennsylvania.  On Monday, Philly Mayor Michael A. Nutter reduced the citywide curfew to 9 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays for all minors under the age of 18 in targeted enforcement districts.

"This nonsense must stop," Nutter said on Sunday at Mount Carmel Baptist Church in West Philadelphia.  "If you wanna act like a butthead, your butt's gonna get locked up.  If you wanna act like an idiot, move; we don't want you here anymore."

And Philadelphia is not alone: this weekend, Milwaukee shuddered as a mob stormed the fairgrounds at the Wisconsin state fair; some eyewitness accounts say race was a strong element, and whites were being targeted. And on July 4 in the Cleveland suburb of Shaker Heights, a group of 1,000 youths organized through social networking sites to fight and disrupt an event.

Adding to the contagion for the young people participating in such wanton destruction are the bleak economic outlook, seemingly unending high unemployment and a deep distrust of government.

ABC News consultant Brad Garret, who was an FBI agent in Washington, D.C. for 30 years, says that he's not sure if he's seen a combination of conditions like today's facing the youth of America.

"When you get people on the edge anyway, and you pull one brick out of their wall, it can collapse," he said.

There are signs of hope for the U.S. though. The chaos seen in Britain is less likely to occur here, because American cities are generally less segregated than Britain's.  In addition, police forces in America have gotten much better at fighting and preventing crime and antisocial behavior.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio