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September 20, 2018 - 12:00 am


Relatives: Women killed in Texas more than troubles endured

LAREDO, Texas (AP) — Janelle Ortiz dreamed of becoming famous. Melissa Ramirez imagined a day when the street wasn't home and drugs not her preoccupation. Claudine Luera just ached to see her children do better than she had.

All of these women, bound by difficulties in life, met an eerily similar death: They were shot in the head and left on rural Texas roadsides, allegedly by a Border Patrol agent who has been described as a serial killer.

Relatives of the dead are now grieving for loved ones who, they say, were more than the troubles they endured.

The suspect's motive remains unknown. Authorities said the three women and a fourth, Guiselda Alicia Cantu, whose name was released Wednesday, were sex workers, and that Border Patrol supervisor Juan David Ortiz knew some of them.


Taiwan tracing US gun company owner accused of sex with girl

TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) — Taiwan says it is looking for the owner of a Texas company that makes untraceable 3D-printed guns who is wanted on an arrest warrant tied to an accusation that he had sex with an underage girl and paid her $500 afterward.

The National Immigration Agency and Criminal Investigation Bureau on Thursday confirmed that Cody Wilson arrived in Taiwan earlier this month.

Division Director Kan Yen-min was quoted by the official Central News Agency as saying the bureau has yet to receive intelligence from the U.S. regarding Wilson, but will continue seeking more information about the case.

Austin, Texas, police Cmdr. Troy Officer said Wednesday that his department is working with national and international law enforcement agencies to find Wilson, whose last known location was Taiwan's capital, Taipei.


South Texas officer shot in struggle with smuggling suspect

(Information from: The Monitor,

RIO GRANDE CITY, Texas (AP) — A South Texas police officer has been shot following a pursuit and struggle with a suspect who authorities say was known to smuggle people across the border into the U.S.

Starr County District Attorney Omar Escobar Jr. tells The Monitor newspaper that the Rio Grande City officer was shot Wednesday while on assignment with a task force that targets drug-trafficking.

Escobar says investigators began pursuing the suspect in Jim Hogg County and followed him into Starr County where his vehicle struck another and came to a stop.

It appears the officer was shot with his own handgun when it discharged as he was on the ground struggling with the suspect. Escobar says the suspect was attempting to take the gun.

The officer was taken to a hospital and is expected to recover.

Charges were pending against the suspect.



Ex-Texas parole officer faces up to 20 years over payoffs

BEAUMONT, Texas (AP) — A former Southeast Texas parole officer faces up to 20 years in federal prison for accepting payoffs in exchange for letting other people provide urine samples for some convicts.

Prosecutors say 33-year-old Ashley Haley of Beaumont pleaded guilty Wednesday to conspiracy to commit extortion under color of official duty.

Haley was a Texas Department of Criminal Justice parole officer since 2010. TDCJ spokesman Robert Hurst said Thursday that Haley resigned July 31. She was indicted this month in what court documents indicate was a payoffs scam since 2016.

Haley had confidential information on parolees banned from using illegal drugs and facing random urine testing. Prosecutors say she provided details to a parolee, plus let others submit urine samples for parolees, in exchange for cash and goods such as vehicle tires.


Woman who saved boy from dog attack among 16 Carnegie heroes

PITTSBURGH (AP) — A receptionist who used a child's booster seat to fight off a pit bull that was attacking a 12-year-old boy is one of 16 people being honored with Carnegie medals for heroism.

The Carnegie Hero Fund Commission, based in Pittsburgh, announced the winners on Thursday.

Ana Ramirez was driving home on April 18, 2017 when she saw Jose Ramos and his husky being attacked by two 65-pound (30-kilogram) dogs. One fled when she honked her horn and she beat the other with a child's booster seat until it ran away. She escorted the boy home and both were treated for bite marks.

The Hero Fund commission was founded and endowed by steel magnate and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie. It has given $40.4 million to 10,044 awardees or their families since 1904.


Texas church shooting lawsuits against Air Force combined

(Information from: San Antonio Express-News,

SUTHERLAND SPRINGS, Texas (AP) — A federal judge will consolidate all federal lawsuits against the U.S. Air Force over the Texas church shooting that killed more than two dozen worshippers.

The San Antonio Express-News reports that Senior U.S. District Judge David Ezra announced Wednesday that the lawsuits will be consolidated and handled by U.S. District Judge Xavier Rodriguez. Four lawsuits have been filed so far by victims or their relatives, but more are expected.

The lawsuits allege the Air Force was negligent for failing to report the convictions of gunman Devin Kelley, who opened fire Nov. 5 at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs. Kelley's convictions would've prevented him from buying guns.

Ezra says the consolidation will be similar to a mass tort case. He says the court has sympathy for the victims and there's no reason to spread out the cases.



Federal agency says it lost track of 1,488 migrant children

For the second time in less than a year, the federal government has lost track of nearly 1,500 migrant children after placing them in the homes of sponsors across the country.

The Health and Human Services Department recently told Senate staffers that case managers could not find 1,488 children after they made follow-up calls to check on their safety from April through June.

The agency first disclosed that it had lost track of 1,475 children late last year.

Members of a Senate subcommittee have introduced bipartisan legislation aimed at requiring the agency to take responsibility for the care of migrant children, even when they are no longer in its custody. They say they want to ensure children don't end up in abusive households or fall prey to human trafficking.


Texas couple accused of enslaving Guinean girl for 16 years

FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — A suburban Fort Worth couple accused of enslaving a Guinean woman for 16 years has been indicted on federal charges that include forced labor.

A grand jury on Wednesday indicted Mohamed Toure and Denise Cros-Toure, who are the son and daughter-in-law of a former president of the West African country of Guinea.

An affidavit says they brought the victim, then aged at least 5 years but perhaps as old as 13, from her rural Guinean village in 2000. They forced her to work without pay in their home for years. Authorities began investigating after the victim fled the couple's home in 2016.

Defense attorney Scott Palmer has said the criminal complaint against his clients is "riddled with salacious allegations, fabrications and lies."


US retail gasoline prices unchanged, Texas down a penny

COPPELL, Texas (AP) — Retail gasoline prices across Texas slipped a penny this week to settle at an average $2.60 per gallon.

AAA Texas on Thursday reported the average price at the pump nationwide held steady at $2.84 per gallon.

The association survey found Midland has the most expensive gasoline in Texas this week at an average $3.04 per gallon. Drivers in Texarkana and San Antonio have the cheapest gasoline in Texas at an average $2.52 per gallon.

AAA officials say gasoline prices remained stable across Texas this week and were not impacted by Hurricane Florence, which made landfall on the eastern U.S. coast.


Trump group increasing its support for Texas Rep Sessions

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — President Donald Trump's biggest super PAC plans to pump another $1 million into a Dallas congressional race where it has already announced spending $1.5 million.

America First Action said Wednesday that it would use the funding to help longtime Republican Rep. Pete Sessions in his race against former NFL linebacker Colin Allred.

Sessions' district narrowly voted for Hillary Clinton over Trump in 2016, bolstering Democratic hopes of an upset in November.

Spokeswoman Erin Montgomery says America First Action is spending at least $15 million in 11 House and two Senate races nationwide, but that $2.5 million for Sessions marks its largest midterm investment so far.

The money will cover digital and TV advertising. The group calls Sessions "a steadfast defender of our national security interests" and a "loyal supporter" of the president.

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