Second skull found in Angeles National Forest

ANGELES NATIONAL FOREST — The investigation into a human skull found with an apparent bullet hole in it in the Angeles National Forest on Thursday led officials to find a second human skull in the same area Saturday.
The second set of human remains were discovered about 10:30 a.m. near Angeles Forest Highway mile marker 17, about two miles south of where hikers discovered another skull Thursday afternoon, Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials said.
The remains appeared to have been in the forest prior to the massive Station Fire that burned large portions of the forest — including the area where the remains were found — after it erupted in August, officials said.
“From what I understand, they’d been there quite a while,” Los Angeles County sheriff’s Sgt. Jeff Hardt said. Officials declined to estimate how long the bones may have been there.
Los Angeles County Department of Coroner Investigator Jerry McKibben said at least one of the skulls appeared to have been skeletonized prior to the Station Fire.
No description of the people the bones came from was available Saturday, he added.
“The anthropologist is going to look at them Monday,” McKibben said.
The first skull was discovered by hikers Thursday afternoon, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Deputy Bill Braughberger said in a written statement.
“Deputies responded and noted the skull had an apparent bullet hole,” he said.
Sheriff’s and coroner’s officials returned to search the area Saturday when they found the second skull, officials said.
“A second set of human remains was found within a close proximity of where the initial skull was found,” Braughberger added.
Sheriff’s officials said it was too early to tell whether or not the two deaths were related to each other, or mere coincidence.
“It’s possible they’re not related,” Deputy Robert Boese said. “But it’s also possible that they are.”
The detectives handling the investigation could not be reached for comment Saturday.
Authorities are looking into the possibility that the remains were both originally at the same location, Hardt said, but the skull found Thursday may have been moved up the road a short distance by an earth-moving Caltrans vehicle.
It was not clear late Saturday if more searches of the areas where the remains were found are planned.
No further information was released.

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Hikers discover human skull in Angeles National Forest

ANGELES NATIONAL FOREST — Homicide detectives were called to investigate the discovery of a skull along Angeles Forest Highway Thursday, officials said.
Hikers found the skull about 5:35 p.m. at mile-marker 19.36 of the highway, in the Angeles National Forest, Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials said.
Detectives from the sheriff’s homicide bureau were sent to, “investigate the circumstances surrounding human remains found at the location,” Sgt. Ed Hummel said.
It was not clear late Thursday how the person may have died.
The skull was found in the an area of forest that was consumed in the Station Fire in recent months.

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Pasadena burglary suspect jailed with neighbor’s help

PASADENA — Police jailed a suspected burglar Thursday after someone reported seeing him breaking into a neighbor’s house, officials said.
Paul Newson, 18, of Pasadena was booked on suspicion of burglary, Pasadena police Lt. Chris Russ said.
“This arrest resulted from a neighbor watching out for their neighborhood,” the lieutenant said.
A witness called police about 9 a.m. from the 1900 block of North El Molino Avenue to report seeing a man crawling into a neighbor’s window, as well as another man standing in the driveway, Russ said.
Officers spotted Newson walking on a cinder block wall behind the house, he said, and then arrested him about a mile away in the 600 block of West Woodbury. The second burglary suspect, described only as a white man, was not found.
Inside the home, Russ said, the alleged burglars were apparently in the process of stealing two flat-screen TVs and had opened up several Christmas presents.

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Man rescued after spending cold night in Angeles National Forest

ANGELES NATIONAL FOREST — Authorities rescued a hiker from a rugged area of Eaton Canyon early Thursday after he spent the night in below-freezing temperatures, officials said.
Shannon Baxter, 40, was rescued from the canyon about 7:30 a.m. after going missing Wednesday evening, Lt. Jack Ewell of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Aero Bureau said in a written statement.
“Mr. Baxter survived overnight temperatures in the 20s while huddling next to some logs and wearing a cotton work jacket and jeans,” he said.
Baxter was visiting the area from Washington and hiking with his son on Chaney Trail north of Altadena Wednesday afternoon when the father had trouble continuing on, the lieutenant said.
The son, a Santa Clarita man, left him behind to seek help, the lieutenant said. When the father had not been found by 3 a.m. Thursday morning, the worried son called authorities.
When officials reached Baxter about four and a half hours later, Ewell said, they flew him out of the forest by helicopter and treated him for mild hypothermia and a pre-existing respiratory problem.

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El Monte man jailed after high-speed pursuit

EL MONTE — Authorities jailed a man Wednesday after he allegedly led them on a high-speed chase in a stolen car, officials said.
Christopher Urquilla, 28, of El Monte was booked on suspicion of auto theft and felony evading, California Highway Patrol officer Louis Borunda said.
The incident began just after 3 p.m. when a California Highway Patrol officer spotted a Honda Accord that been reported stolen out of Monterey Park Tuesday heading southbound 605 Freeway near the 10 Freeway, the officer said.
Urquilla initially stopped when a CHP officer pulled him over, Borunda said, but then accelerated away.
Officers chased the car down the westbound 10 Freeway before exiting on Durfee Avenue and continuing through residential neighborhoods at speeds up to 90 mph, officials said.
Borunda said Urquilla ditched the car in the 3600 block of Gilman Road and fled on foot, but CHP and El Monte police officers found him hiding in the carport of a nearby apartment complex and arrested him without further incident.
A woman riding as a passenger in the car also ran away and was not found, he added.
According to Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department booking records, Urquilla is being held at the sheriff’s Industry Station jail in lieu of $120,000 bail. He is due for arraignment in El Monte Superior Court Monday.

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Rosemead “Deputy of the Year” selected

ROSEMEAD — Officials Wednesday announced the selection of Los Angeles County sheriff’s Deputy Patricia Ruiz as the 2009 Deputy of the Year in Rosemead.
Ruiz racked up 93 arrests this year — many of them for serious felonies — and solved many cases, sheriff’s officials said in a written statement.
“She is well-known for her dedication to community outreach and for her ability to approach situations with extreme compassion,” according to the sheriff’s statement.
The deputy commonly makes extraordinary efforts to help homeless and drug-addicted community members, officials added.
Ruiz has been a sheriff’s deputy for eight years and has served the Rosemead community for three of them.

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Suspected serial bank robber jailed

This press release comes from the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office:

A man, who recently resided in both San Clemente and Las Vegas, has been

arrested for a series of bank robberies attributed to a bank robber known as the “Red

Sharpie Bandit,” so named based on the red magic marker used during his robberies, it

was announced today by law enforcement authorities with San Luis Obispo County, San

Barbara County and the FBI.

Anthony William Frisco, 44, was apprehended late last week by detectives with

the Santa Barbara Police Department, after detectives there received a tip generated

from the media coverage on the case. Throughout 2009, an unidentified male subject

meeting the description of the Red Sharpie Bandit was seen by witnesses and in various

bank surveillance photographs, and is suspected in as many as eleven bank robberies at

the following locations:

01/12/2009 Washington Mutual San Clemente

03/16/2009 Downey Savings Dana Point

05/11/2009 Chase Bank San Clemente

09/01/2009 Rabobank Pismo Beach

10/13/2009 Wachovia Bank Seal Beach

10/27/2009 Chase Bank San Luis Obispo

10/30/2009 U.S. Bank Dana Point

11/09/2009 Wachovia Bank Seal Beach

12/07/2009 Chase Bank San Clemente

12/14/2009 Wells Fargo San Luis Obispo

12/14/2009 Wells Fargo Nipomo

Currently, Frisco is in custody at the San Luis Obispo County jail on an armed

robbery charge. His bail has been set at $500,000. It is anticipated that Frisco will be

charged with as many as four counts of armed robbery in connection with robberies in

the cities of Pismo Beach, San Luis Obispo and Nipomo.

The investigation into the robberies in Orange County is continuing and Frisco

may face addition charges at the state or federal level.

The robberies in San Luis Obispo County were investigated jointly by detectives

and agents with the San Luis Obispo Police Department; San Luis Obispo Sheriff’s

Department; Pismo Beach Police Department; Santa Barbara Police Department and

the FBI. Frisco is expected to be charged by the District Attorney in San Luis Obispo

County. The bank robberies in Orange County are being investigated by the Orange

County Sheriff’s Department, the FBI and police in the cities where banks were robbed.

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10 years in state prison for men who killed Ondrea Alvarez

From the DA’s office:

POMONA – Two men who earlier this month pleaded to the DUI traffic death of a Bellflower woman were sentenced to state prison today, the District Attorney’s Office announced.

Deputy District Attorney Miji Vellakkatel of the Pomona Branch Office said Elias Sibiano Munoz, 21, and Brian Rene Galvez, 24, were each sentenced to 10 years in state prison.

The defendants pleaded guilty to gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated on Dec. 4 for the March 2008 death of Ondrea Alvarez, 20.

After an outing at a local restaurant Munoz and Galvez engaged in a street race at speeds of more than 80 miles per hour. During the course of the race, Munoz – who was accompanied by Alvarez – lost control of his vehicle and crashed. Alvarez died from injuries sustained in the collision, prosecutors said.

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Sheriff’s deputies racking up OT — nearly $1 billion in five years

This from reporter Dana Bartholomew at the Los Angeles Daily News:

Santa’s elves may toil long hours at toy time, but Los Angeles Sheriff’s deputies are piling up the overtime all year long.

Total deputy overtime has averaged $162 million a year since 2004, according to a county audit released over the weekend. Among the findings, 348 deputies worked 900 hours of overtime in one year – equal to six months of full-time work.

Furthermore, it said lawmen worked so many back-to-back shifts they risked being too weary to do the work.

“Employees who work significant amounts of overtime may not be physically/mentally capable of performing their jobs,” said Wendy Watanabe, Los Angeles County auditor-controller, in her 12-page report.

“In addition, we noted that non-emergency overtime is not always pre-approved, and management does not always monitor individual overtime worked/reported for compliance with the work schedule limitations.”

The audit, released Sunday by county Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky, highlights a Sheriff’s overtime budget run amuck, with deputies potentially reeling from the strain.

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