Louisiana news briefs
Pastor’s daughter dies while on youth outing
ST. JOSEPH (AP) — The 13-year-old daughter of First United Methodist Church West Monroe’s pastor died while on a church youth group trip to Lake Bruin in Tensas Parish.
Sheriff Rickey Jones said Sarah Grace Tellifero was swimming with a group of teens when she and another girl received an electrical shock while attempting to get out of the lake Sunday afternoon.
Jones said it appears the girls were using a ladder on a pontoon boat to climb out of the water.
The sheriff said a malfunction in the lift mechanism on the pontoon boat resulted in an electric charge to the boat’s ladder.
Tellifero was airlifted to Madison Parish Hospital. The second victim, Christina Elizarov, was flown to Rapides General Hospital where she’s in the intensive care unit.
East Baton Rouge ‘Gas for Guns’ event successful
BATON ROUGE (AP) — A steady stream of people showed up for a “Gas for Guns” event hosted by Baton Rouge authorities over the weekend.
Deputies say 74 handguns, rifles and shotguns were exchanged for Circle K gas cards.
The no-questions-asked program is designed to get weapons off the streets that could be used to commit crimes.
Police say at least two of the nine shotguns had illegally short, sawed-off barrels, and one of the 12 rifles was an AK-47 assault rifle.
The remainder of the guns — the 53 handguns — were mostly old or cheap revolvers and semi-automatics, but several were expensive and collectible. If the guns can be matched to a crime, they will become evidence; if they were stolen, they will be returned to their owners, and the rest will be destroyed, officers said.
“I think it was a very successful event,” said Capt. Todd Morris, of the East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Office. “Anytime we can get guns off the street, they are less likely to be used in a crime of violence.”
Police said $5,350 in Circle K gas cards were distributed in exchange for the guns.
They collected 262 unsecured guns in 2010, 165 firearms in 2011 and 71 handguns, rifles and shotguns last December when the exchange was held for the third time, according to the Mayor’s Office.
Not guilty plea in dancer’s death, dismemberment
GRETNA (AP) — A woman has entered a not guilty plea in connection with the death and dismemberment of a French Quarter strip club dancer whose body parts washed ashore in 2012 on the Mississippi coast.
Margaret Sanchez, 30, entered the plea Monday in Jefferson Parish to charges of second-degree murder, obstruction of justice and conspiracy to obstruct justice in the death of Jaren Lockhart, 22.
A public defender entered the plea for Sanchez, who said little during the brief court hearing.
Sanchez is being held in the Jefferson Parish jail in Gretna with bond set at $1.5 million.
Terry Speaks, 41, faces the same charges as Sanchez in Jefferson Parish.
Speaks is being held in a federal prison in New York in connection with an unrelated sex-offender charge from North Carolina. Speaks is scheduled to complete that sentence during the first week of October, said Assistant District Attorney Doug Freese, who has been assigned to prosecute the couple in Jefferson Parish with Tommy Block.
Villages’ ex-assistant police chief re-arrested
JONESBORO (AP) — The Jackson Parish Sheriff’s Office has arrested Gregory Coleman, former assistant police chief for the village of North Hodge, on new charges of sexual assault.
Coleman was arrested Monday on two counts of forcible rape, one count of indecent behavior with a juvenile, and one count of malfeasance in office.
Sheriff Andy Brown says the charges stem from complaints from victims who have come forward since Coleman’s initial arrest on Aug. 12.
Coleman is currently being held at the Jackson Parish Jail on $105,000 bond. It was not immediately known if he has an attorney.
Police: Chinese prostitution ring uncovered
LAFAYETTE (AP) — Police say seven massage parlors in Lafayette raided last week along with parlors in Bossier City and Lake Charles were part of a human trafficking network with international reach.
Lafayette police Chief Jim Craft said Monday the seven businesses in Lafayette are alleged to have been sites of prostitution, employing women from China who were not allowed to leave the parlors, spoke no English and plied their trade in other U.S. locations.
One man and 10 women, all born in China, were arrested on counts of having no license from the Louisiana Board of Massage Therapy. Two of the suspects were each booked on 10 counts of promoting prostitution. Only one of the women was booked on an actual prostitution charge.
State returns $84K
in unclaimed property
BATON ROUGE (AP) — The state has returned $84,400 in unclaimed money to hundreds of Lafayette-area residents during an Unclaimed Property Awareness Day weekend event.
The Louisiana Department of the Treasury, in a news release Monday, said the average claim is usually around $900, but several claims filed at the Acadiana Mall event exceeded $1,000.
State Treasurer John Kennedy says the state still has $635 million that belongs to citizens statewide and he encouraged people to search the department’s website to see if some of that belongs to them. Search online at www.LATreasury.com or call 1-888-925-4127.
From The Associated Press.
Since 1972, the Unclaimed Property Program has returned more than $338 million to almost 570,000 Louisiana citizens. The money includes payroll checks, old bank accounts, royalties, utility deposits, interest payments, stock certificates and life insurance proceeds.