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Entries in Vermont (18)

Friday
May102013

Injured Child Appears, Disappears Into Woods, 911 Caller Claims

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(MONTPELIER, Vt.) -- A Vermont driver called 911 Thursday afternoon to report that a small, injured child approached the driver’s vehicle and then abruptly took off into the woods and vanished.

Around 5:17 p.m., a driver, whose name was not released, called 911 and said that a girl, about 6 years old, went up to the car and identified herself as either “Angel” or “Angela,” according to information provided by the Vermont State Police.  She was missing a front tooth and said she had been hurt, police said.

State troopers, along with local sheriffs’ departments and other law enforcement agencies, are now searching a wide area around the West Rutland location of the sighting.

But Vermont State Police spokeswoman Stephanie Desaro said Friday that there were no reports of a missing child in that area.

According to the caller, the girl was white, had brown hair and was wearing a red skirt, white T-shirt, white flip-flops and a mood ring. The girl ran away from the caller’s vehicle and into the woods, according to the police statement.

Desaro said that authorities were still searching and seeking tips related to the girl, and expected to have more information later Friday.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Monday
Dec032012

Alaska Barista Murder Suspect Traveled to Kill Because He 'Liked to Do It'

Kevin Horan/Stone(ANCHORAGE, Alaska) -- A man charged in the death of a teenage barista in Alaska told police that he traveled the country with the sole purpose to kill strangers because he "liked to do it," prosecutors said Monday.

Vermont and federal prosecutors detailed the meticulous and cold-blooded murder of Bill and Lorraine Currier in Essex, Vt., last year and said the information came from Israel Keyes before he killed himself in an Alaska jail cell Sunday. Keyes provided details that only the perpetrator would know, police said.

Keyes, 34, the owner of an Anchorage construction company, was in jail charged with the February murder of Samantha Koenig, 18. While in jail he had been confessing to at least seven other killings in Washington, New York, and Vermont.

Now that he is dead, investigators are wondering how many more killings Keyes might be responsible for and why he committed the crimes.

"He provided some motivation, but I don't think it's really [possible] to pigeonhole why he did this," Tristram Coffin, U.S. Attorney in Vermont, said at a news conference Monday. "He described to investigators that this was a volitional act of his. He wasn't compelled by some uncontrollable force, but it was something that he could control and he liked to do it. Why someone likes to act like that, nobody knows."

Authorities described the murders of the Curriers in great detail, offering insight into how the twisted killer traveled to murder, his criteria for choosing random victims and his careful planning of the murders.

"When [Keyes] left Alaska, he left with the specific purpose of kidnapping and murdering someone," Chittenden County State Attorney T. J. Donovan said at the press conference. "He was specifically looking for a house that had an attached garage, no car in the driveway, no children, no dog."

The Curriers, unfortunately, fit all of Keyes' criteria. He spent three days in Vermont before striking. He even took out a three-day fishing license and fished before the slayings.

In June 2011, Keyes went to their house and cut a phone line from outside and made sure they did not have a security system that would alert police. He donned a head lamp and broke into their house with a gun and silencer that he had brought with him.

 

Keyes found the couple in bed and tied them up with zip ties. He took Lorraine Currier's purse and wallet as well as Bill Currier's gun. He left the man's wallet.

He put the couple in their own car and drove them to an abandoned farmhouse that he had previously scoped out. Keyes tied Bill Currier to a stool in the basement and went back to the car for Lorraine Currier.

"Keyes saw that Lorraine had broken free from the zip ties and observed that she was running towards Main Street," Donovan said. "He tackled her to regain control of her."

Keyes took Lorraine Currier to the second floor of the farmhouse and tied her up. He rushed to the basement when he heard commotion and found that Bill Currier's stool had broken and he was partially free.

"In an attempt to subdue Bill Currier, Keyes hit him with a shovel, but he continued to struggle and yell wanting to know where his wife was," Donovan said. When Keyes was unable to subdue Bill Currier, he shot him to death, the state attorney said.

"They fought to the end," a choked up Donovan said at the news conference.

Keyes then returned to Lorraine Currier and sexually assaulted her before strangling her. He put each of his victims in garbage bags, put them in the corner of the farmhouse and covered them in debris.

Keyes drove away with the intention of robbing a bank, but had some trouble with the Curriers' car, so he abandoned it and drove his rental car to Maine. Shortly after, he stopped at a national forest to burn the couple's property and then went back to Vermont to visit the crime scenes.

He disposed of the two guns and a silencer in a reservoir and began to make his way back to Alaska.

"By all accounts, [the Curriers] were friendly, peaceful, good people who encountered a force of pure evil acting at random," an investigator said at Monday's news conference. Authorities called the ongoing investigation a "huge case, national in scope."

Before his death, Keyes indicated that he also killed four people in Washington State and one person in New York, but did not give the victims' names, authorities said.

Keyes had been facing a March trial in Anchorage federal court -- and possibly the death penalty -- for the killing of Koenig.

Samantha Koenig was last seen Feb. 1 on surveillance video that showed her leaving the Common Grounds Espresso stand in Anchorage with an armed man. All of the coffee stand's cash was also missing.

After allegedly killing Koenig, Keyes used her phone to send text messages to conceal the abduction, according to prosecutors. He flew to Texas and returned Feb. 17 to Anchorage, where he sent another text message demanding ransom and directing it to the account connected to the stolen debit card, according to prosecutors.

Keyes was arrested in Lufkin, Texas, March 16 after he used Koenig's debit card. The FBI contends Keyes killed Koenig less than a day after she was kidnapped. Her body was recovered April 2 from an ice-covered lake north of Anchorage.

Police and the FBI spent hours talking to Keyes in the months after his arrest and he was cooperating, talking to investigators as recently as Thursday, the Anchorage Daily News reported.

Authorities wouldn't say how Keyes killed himself, only that he was alone in his cell. An autopsy will be conducted.

Alaskan officials were expected to release a timeline of Keyes' U.S. travels Monday.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Apr222012

Nor’easter Building Up on the East Coast

ABC News (NEW YORK) -- After an early spring, a late season Nor’easter will move up the East Coast Sunday through  Monday bringing torrential rain, strong winds, high waves and snow.

Parts of 10 states are under flood watch advisories from New Hampshire and southern Vermont and Massachusetts, south to New Jersey, Delaware and eastern Pennsylvania.  Big cities under flood watches through early Monday include Boston, Hartford, New York City, Philadelphia, and Wilmington, Del., which may see two to four inches of rain.

Areas further inland, from western New York and western Pennsylvania down into West Virginia and Maryland, could see winds from 20 to 40 miles per hour and major snowfall. In high mountain areas like northwest Pennsylvania’s Allegheny Mountains, snowfall could exceed a foot.  Counties in and around Pittsburgh could see 3-4 inches of snow.

The worst of the storm is expected to hit late Sunday and continue into Monday.

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
Apr132012

Vermont Governor Chased By Four Bears

Office of the Governor(MONTPELIER, Vt.) -- Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin says he was in bed Wednesday night when he heard something outside of his Montpelier home. He went outside and found four bears attacking his bird-feeders.

“He went through the kitchen and out the back door to scare the bears away,” the governor’s spokeswoman Sue Allen said. “There were two adult bears and two cubs.”

Shumlin then proceeded to bring all bird-feeders inside the house when one of the bears charged towards him.

“The bear got within three feet of him before he was able to shut the door,” Allen said.

The governor’s Montpelier house is 10-15 minutes from the nearest residential area.

Shumlin was unharmed.

“No harm to the bears or the governor,” Allen said. “He’s urging all Vermonters to bring in feeders at night and don’t put them up in the spring.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Mar282012

Melissa Jenkins Son, 2, Tried to Demonstrate Mom Was Strangled

Comstock/Thinkstock(ST. JOHNSBURY, Vt.) -- Melissa Jenkins' 2-year-old son Ty apparently witnessed his mother's strangulation and tried to tell police what happened by pulling on his neck, according to court documents released Wednesday.

The documents were released following the arraignment Wednesday of Allen Prue, 30, and his wife, Patricia Prue, 33, in the death of the well liked Vermont science teacher.

The St. Johnsbury couple are being charged with second-degree murder and improper disposal of a body, dumping Jenkins' naked body in a shallow river.

The Prues' motive for murder remains unclear, however the couple's second degree murder charge indicates that police don't have evidence that it was premeditated.

Jenkins' son was asleep when police found him inside his mother's idling SUV Sunday evening.

The toddler had a difficult time telling police what he saw, claiming "a boy" and "Michael Jordan" were in the car with his mother, court papers said.

"At one point the child said that his mommy cried and he pulled on the back of his neck," the documents stated.

On Sunday night, Patricia Prue used a prepaid phone she purchased earlier that day to call Jenkins, 33, and ask for help, claiming her car had broken down, the court papers say.

When Jenkins arrived, Allen Prue told police he strangled the single mother.

Allen Prue had plowed Jenkins' driveway several years ago and had asked her on a date. Jenkins' friend told police she had been "uncomfortable" around Prue. When he showed up at her home last fall to offer his services, the friend told police Jenkins declined and said she would call him if she ever needed him.

Jenkins told her ex-boyfriend in a phone call Sunday that she was going to help someone who had plowed her driveway in the past. When the boyfriend did not hear back from her later that night, he found her vehicle and alerted police.

A business card that said "Good News Prue Snow Plowing and Towing Service Call For Free Estimate" was found in Jenkins' vehicle, documents stated.

Detectives said they traced the call for help Jenkins received to a prepaid cell phone that was purchased by someone with Patricia Prue's date of birth, and surveillance video showed Patricia and Allen Prue purchasing the cell phone at a Walmart in Littleton, N.H.

Prue told police he wanted to "get a girl" on Sunday night, and after he was confronted with evidence, confessed to the murder, documents stated.

The documents depict a grisly scenario, stating that Prue told police he began to strangle Jenkins after she got out of her car to help him, and that Patricia Prue jumped in and assisted in the strangulation.

"Allen Prue advised that she stopped moving and he put her in the backseat of his vehicle and left. On the drive back to their house, Patricia Prue choked her in the vehicle again to ensure she wasn't breathing," the documents stated.

They left Jenkins' son in his mother's SUV with the engine running.

Once the couple were back at their home on Old County Road, they allegedly stripped Jenkins, laid her body on a tarp, and doused her with bleach.

The Prues stuffed her body in the car and drove to a boat launch on the Connecticut River where they weighed her naked body down with cinder blocks before dumping it into the water and covering it with branches, court papers say.

Jenkins' body was found on Monday by police.

News of the arrests were welcomed in the tight-knit town of 8,000, which had been on edge since the popular teacher was murdered.

St. Johnsbury Academy, a private school where Jenkins taught science and coached freshman girls' basketball, will host a memorial service for her on Friday in the gymnasium.

Students and staff will be encouraged to break dress code and wear pink, a color the school said Jenkins wore often, to celebrate her life and raise money for the Melissa Jenkins Memorial Fund.

Copright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Mar282012

Vermont Teacher Was Strangled, Knew Her Alleged Killers

Panoramic Images/Getty(ST. JOHNSBURY, Vt.) -- Vermont teacher Melissa Jenkins was strangled and police Wednesday arrested a married couple and charged them with her death.

Police, however, did not give a motive for the killing during a brief news conference.

Allen Prue, 30, and Patricia Prue, 33, who are husband and wife, are scheduled to be arraigned Wednesday on charges of second degree murder and improper disposal of a body.

The Prues were taken into custody early Wednesday.

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"They knew Ms. Jenkins and had snow plowed her driveway a few years ago," State Police Maj. Ed Ledo said.

A search warrant is being executed at the Prues' home.

Allen Prue also worked newspaper delivery man for the Caledonian Record. The newspaper reported that Prue arrived an hour late for his shift on Sunday night, around the same time Jenkins vanished.

The body of Jenkins, 33, from St. Johnsbury, Vt., was found on a dark Vermont road Sunday night. Her SUV was found running with her 2-year-old son Ty inside.

Jenkins' vehicle was recovered Sunday evening near signs of a struggle after a friend who had been looking for the mother contacted the police.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Mar272012

Vermont Teacher Melissa Jenkins Was Murdered, Autopsy Concludes

Panoramic Images/Getty(ST. JOHNSBURY, Vt.) -- Vermont teacher Melissa Jenkins was murdered, an autopsy concluded Tuesday, but police declined to disclose the cause of death.

The body of Jenkins, 33, who was a teacher from St. Johnsbury, Vt., was found on a dark Vermont road Sunday night. Her SUV was found running with her 2-year-old son Tie inside.

"We are deeply saddened by the tragic death of Ms. Jenkins, and our thoughts are with her family and friends," the lead investigator, State Police Maj. Ed Ledo, said in a statement. "We remain committed to solving this case and to identify and bring to justice the person or persons responsible for the death of Ms. Jenkins."

Residents of the town of fewer than 8,000 people, which sits roughly 40 miles from the Canadian border, were stunned after her disappearance and the discovery of the body.

Jenkins' uncle, Marty Beattie, told ABC News the toddler is being cared for by the slain woman's parents while they work out a plan with the child's father, B.J. Robertson.

Robertson said the child has been unable to express what happened to his mother.

For now, he told ABC News he has "just been loving him when I am with him."

Beattie said he believes police have accumulated enough evidence to result in an arrest in the near future.

"She put herself in a bad situation. Wrong place, wrong time," he said.

Police warned the tight-knit town to remain vigilant, fearing the killer could strike again.

"I cannot disclose the details of how the body was found or the condition of the body, but this death is considered suspicious," Det. Sgt. Walter Smith said Monday. "We don't know if it's an isolated incident. We expect the public to use all diligence and vigilance while out and about."

More than 100 friends and family members braved frigid winds at a candlelight service Monday for the teacher, who taught science at St. Johnsbury Academy, a boarding school of about 970 students. The single mother, who was also working on her master's degree, had a knack for teaching young people, according to St. Johnsbury headmaster Tom Lovett.

Jenkins was also a freshmen basketball coach and a dorm proctor until the birth of her son. She also worked a second job, moonlighting part-time as a waitress at the Creamery Restaurant in Danville, Vt.

Jenkins' vehicle was recovered Sunday evening near signs of a struggle after a friend who had been looking for the mother contacted the police. The body that is believed to be her was found in the nearby town of Barnet, Vt. Police say Jenkins had no restraining orders out on anyone.

Family members believe Jenkins left home to help someone with car trouble, but exactly whom she planned to meet is a mystery.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Mar272012

Missing Vermont Teacher: Police Warn Town as Body Possibly Found

Ryan McVay/Thinkstock(ST. JOHNSBURY, Vt.) -- The discovery of a body believed to be that of teacher Melissa Jenkins, whose SUV was found earlier this week still running with her 2-year-old son inside, has left police alarmed that whoever might have harmed her will strike again.

The body of Jenkins, 33, from St. Johnsbury, Vt., is believed to have been found 16 hours after she vanished on a dark Vermont road Sunday night.  Residents of the town of fewer than 8,000 people, which sits roughly 40 miles from the Canadian border, were stunned after her disappearance and the discovery of the body.  Police are telling the public to remain vigilant.

"I cannot disclose the details of how the body was found or the condition of the body, but this death is considered suspicious," Det. Sgt. Walter Smith said Monday.  "We don't know if it's an isolated incident, we expect the public to use all diligence and vigilance while out and about."

More than 100 friends and family members braved frigid winds at a candlelight service Monday for the teacher who taught science at St. Johnsbury Academy, a boarding school of about 970 students.

Jenkins was also a freshmen basketball coach and a dorm proctor until the birth of her son.  She also worked a second job, moonlighting part-time as a waitress at the Creamery Restaurant in Danville, Vt.

Her vehicle was recovered Sunday evening after a friend who had been looking for the single mother contacted the police.  The body that is believed to be her was found in the nearby town of Barnet, Vt.  Police say Jenkins had no restraining orders out on anyone.

"[This is] something you would never think of in this small town we have here," family friend Ron Craig told ABC News.

Family members believe Jenkins left home to help someone with car trouble, but exactly whom she planned to meet is a mystery.

A family friend is caring for Jenkins' toddler.  The boy's father, B.J. Robertson, would not comment about Jenkins. 

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Dec292011

Vermont Man Arrested After Proposing with Stolen Engagement Ring

Burlington Police Department(BURLINGTON, Vt.) -- Happily ever after got off to a rough start when a woman’s acceptance of her boyfriend’s marriage proposal landed him in jail. It turned out that Amber LaFountain’s new fiance, Ryan Jarvis, had stolen the engagement ring from a jewelry store.

LaFountain posted engagement photos on Facebook, and anonymous tips to the police following a news release about the robbery led to Jarvis.

Jarvis was ring shopping at a Burlington, Vt., Zales jewelry store on Dec. 26. Store employees told police he was perusing the ring selection for over an hour, at one point asking to compare the rings, which a clerk did not allow him to do.

“The male asked to see a 14K white gold solitaire weighing 1.01 carats. The ring has four prongs cradling the diamond,” according to an affidavit from the Burlington Police Department. “After looking at the ring briefly he ran east out of the store and through a mall exit which enters the garage.”

Jarvis managed to escape the mall with the $3,199 ring.

As police dusted the jewelry cases looking for finger prints and began their investigation, Jarvis took LaFountain out for dinner and popped the question. She accepted and posted a photo of the ring on her Facebook page.

Police released information about the stolen ring and multiple anonymous callers reported information to the police, including three of LaFountain’s own friends who all identified Jarvis as her fiance.

When police arrived at LaFountain’s home, they found her outside. She confirmed that she had gotten engaged the previous evening and had the ring with her. She said it didn’t fit, and she and Jarvis had taken it to have a ring sizer attached.

“While speaking with LaFountain she spontaneously asked if Jarvis had stolen the ring,” Burlington Police Officer Jesse Stewart wrote in the affidavit. “I asked her why she thought that and she reported that they did not have a lot of money and that she assumed so since the police were there.”

LaFountain handed over the ring and it matched the photo and serial number provided by the jewelry store. Jarvis came outside and admitted to the theft.

“He advised he selected a ring but knew that he could not afford it,” Stewart wrote. “He reported that he considered financing options but concluded that he would be unable to afford the ring he wanted. He reported he then ran out of the store with the ring. He advised he knew it was a stupid thing to do.”

Jarvis was arrested and charged with retail theft.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Sep062011

Vermont Artist Helps Community Rebuild after Hurricane Irene

ABC News(WILMINGTON, Vt.) -- Ann Coleman has traded in a paintbrush for a broom.

The Wilmington, Vt., artist lost her art gallery when Hurricane Irene, on its last legs after battering the East Coast, walloped the state last week.  Her nearly $400,000 investment now lies in ruins more than two miles downstream.

"I wish I had flood insurance," Coleman said, "but I couldn't afford it."

The art gallery, once a prominent fixture on the city's main street, is now an empty space.  The storm caused the worst flooding in the state in 84 years, washing away bridges and roadways and cutting residents off from the outside world.

Because she and her husband are both self-employed, neither of them can collect unemployment.

"Our slate has been wiped clean literally," she told ABC News.  "People kept giving me condolences. ... I took a picture and then my eyes went back to where my building was supposed to be.  There was no yellow there and it was like it's gone.  It's completely gone."

She and her husband decided not to spend time thinking about their own losses and focused on their neighbors.

"It seems selfish not to do that," said her husband, Joe Coleman, whose real estate business was also ruined by the deluge.  "If our building were still there and we needed help, everyone would be helping us."

"Our generator, we were going to use it because we were out of power at home," Ann Coleman told ABC News.  Instead, she gave it to a neighbor.  Coleman is also giving away vegetables from her backyard and doling out emotional support.

She and Joe say they barely have enough time to pick up the pieces of their own lives.

"Everybody has helped us along the way, so do unto others as you would have them do unto you," she said.  "It's all about doing things and being the best you can be.  We'll keep on keeping on."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







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