REGIONAL BRIEFS: Parents of girl who drowned face chargesDANBURY, Wis. -- Thomas Jay Williams, 42, and Jenna Elizabeth Danish, 33, of Danbury, had a habit of allowing their 3-year-old daughter, Reena, to wander away — as she did on the day she drowned, according to a criminal complaint filed against them in Burnett County Circuit Court.
From the Forum Communications News Bureau
Parents of girl who drowned face charges
DANBURY, Wis. -- Thomas Jay Williams, 42, and Jenna Elizabeth Danish, 33, of Danbury, had a habit of allowing their 3-year-old daughter, Reena, to wander away — as she did on the day she drowned, according to a criminal complaint filed against them in Burnett County Circuit Court.
Reena’s disappearance Aug. 14 sparked a massive search. Her body was found in a canal 25 yards from the family’s home the next day.
Williams and Danish have each been charged with a single count of child neglect resulting in death.
The complaint in the case, filed Friday, alleges that Williams was a regular drug user who smoked synthetic marijuana shortly before Reena disappeared.
According to the complaint, witnesses reported seeing Reena wandering alone up to 1½ miles away from home several times in the months before her death. A neighbor had brought Reena home about 5 p.m. Aug. 14 after finding Reena walking alone a half-mile from home.
Reena was then reported missing shortly before 7 p.m. Her body was found in a canal shortly before 5 p.m. Aug. 15.
Arrest warrants were issued for Williams and Danish on Friday. Burnett County Sheriff's officials say the two turned themselves in Sunday.
Man’s body found in burned camper
DAIRYLAND, Wis. -- The body of a Dairyland, Wis., man and his dog were found early Friday in a camper trailer that had burned.
Douglas County Sheriff’s Office and the Town of Dairyland Fire Department were dispatched to the fire at 2978 E. Knutson Rd. about 2:30 a.m. Friday. When they arrived, they found the trailer engulfed in flames. The body of John J. Harris, 47, was found after the fire was extinguished.
Harris had been a member of the Dairyland Volunteer Fire Department previously, Dairyland Fire Chief Michael Knutson said, but was not currently a member.
Douglas County Medical Examiner Darrell Witt confirmed that Harris died of smoke inhalation. There was no word Monday from the fire department or sheriff’s department on what caused the fire.
Teen’s trick may get her on Letterman (DP)
BISMARCK -- When Ashley Ellison, 16, of Medora, N.D., found out she could whistle through her eye socket, she didn’t think anything of it.
“It’s just me blowing air through my eye,” she said Monday morning at the Bismarck Airport waiting to fly to New York. “I thought everybody could kind of do it and I didn’t think it was that rare of a thing, but I guess it is.”
But that quirk is sending the Belfield High School junior and her parents Doug (who is mayor of Medora) and Mary Ellison, on a trip to New York and she has a chance to be broadcast nationwide as part of stupid human tricks on “Late Show with David Letterman.”
She will be one of six performers in the segment, but only three will make the cut to the national broadcast this evening.
The Ellisons decided to send in a video of Ashley’s talent last spring.
“My parents did it just to annoy me,” Ashley said. “They’re like, ‘We’re going to send it to the Letterman show for Stupid Human Tricks,’ and I’m like ‘OK, whatever,’ and, yeah, I guess it worked.”
Two arrested after girls report sex assault at party
FARGO – Two men were arrested and more arrests are possible as Fargo police continue to investigate the reported sexual assault of two teenage girls at a south Fargo party, Lt. Joel Vettel said.
Police were called at 2:48 a.m. Sunday to a large party where they found more than 20 people in the front yard and hallway of the apartment building, Vettel said.
As officers tried to disperse the party, they found two girls under the age of 15 who said they had been sexually assaulted, Vettel said.
Tremaine Quincy Jones, 19, of Fargo, was arrested on suspicion of gross sexual imposition, Vettel said.
Jermaine Quincy Jones, also 19 and from Fargo, was arrested for allegedly resisting arrest.
Alcohol was present at the party, he said.
Teen killed by train identified
FARGO -- An 18-year-old Fargo man was killed early Sunday morning when he was struck by a train west of the North Dakota State University campus, according to police.
Fargo Police Lt. Joel Vettel on Monday identified the victim as Colby Jacob Anderson.
Four people were attempting to cross railroad tracks near 12th Avenue and Dakota Drive about 3 a.m. when Anderson was hit by the passenger train. He died at the scene.
Vettel said alcohol may have been a factor in the case, which is being treated as an ongoing investigation.
Victim in fatal crash identified
BUXTON, N.D. -- North Dakota Highway Patrol has indentified a Buxton resident who was killed in a one-vehicle rollover accident east of Buxton early Sunday morning.
John M. Twamley, 28, died in the crash, which is believed to have occurred about 2 a.m. along Traill County Road 21, about 5.5 miles east of Buxton, according to the Highway Patrol.
Twamley was driving a 1999 Chevrolet Tahoe that left the road, entered the north ditch and struck an approach, which sent the vehicle airborne before it rolled in the north ditch, according to the report.
The driver, who was traveling alone, was ejected from the vehicle, according to the Highway Patrol.
The crash was discovered at about 8:10 a.m. Sunday by a passerby, according to the report.
Grocery employee shot during robbery
FARGO – A Sunmart Foods employee was shot twice during an armed robbery late Sunday at the grocery store at 724 N. University Drive, Fargo police Lt. Joel Vettel said.
The employee was taken to Sanford Medical Center. His condition is unknown, Vettel said.
Police responded at about 11 p.m. to the reported robbery.
The victim and another employee were inside at closing time when the suspect approached the victim and made demands, Vettel said. The victim was shot twice during a physical altercation with the suspect, he said.
No customers were inside at the time.
No arrested had been reported Monday.
Vettel said armed robberies in which a firearm is used and someone gets hurt are “very, very rare” in Fargo.
“In fact, I can't remember somebody in my career where we’ve actually had an armed robbery where a firearm was used and somebody was hurt as a result of that incident,” he said.
Zoo cited after flood deaths
DULUTH -- The U.S. Department of Agriculture has cited the Lake Superior Zoo for inadequate shelter for its farm animals at the West Duluth facility. The zoo has since satisfied the USDA’s demand that the zoo provide adequate shelter at its farm animal exhibit.
Six sheep and four goats died at the zoo during the June flooding that devastated the region. The routine inspection by the USDA on Aug. 28 found that a “lack of adequate shelter does not ensure the health, well-being and/or comfort of the animals.”
Peter Pruett, director of zoo operations, said most of the protection for the animals is out of the zoo’s hands as the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources works to improve the drainage of Kingsbury Creek that flows through the zoo property.
Dave Sacks, a spokesman for the USDA, confirmed that the citation was addressed and corrected by the zoo.
A donkey, turkey vulture and a snowy owl were also found drowned June 20 after a 10-inch rainfall flooded the zoo.
Man sentenced for trailer park shooting
MOORHEAD, Minn. – A convicted felon was sentenced Monday to 13 years in prison for shooting at a man in a mobile home park here in April 2011.
Clay County District Court Judge Galen Vaa sentenced Geraldo Torres to 13 years for second-degree attempted murder, crediting him 258 days for time already served.
Torres, 24, pleaded guilty to the charges July 31, when he told the court he was trying to defend himself when a man followed him back to the mobile home park after a physical altercation.
Torres then shot several bullets at the man, who was not named in court records, inside the Regal Estates mobile home park. One of the bullets hit a trailer occupied by two adults and two children.
Torres fled after the shooting. He was arrested last December when U.S. Marshals tracked him to his mother’s home in Lubbock, Texas.
Victim of one-vehicle rollover identified
DETROIT LAKES, Minn. – A Ponsford man who died Friday in a one-vehicle rollover in Becker County has been identified by the Becker County Sheriff’s Office as Delmar John Basswood, 22.
According to the Sheriff’s Office , the crash was reported about 10:30 a.m. Friday on Highway 35 near Elbow Lake, about 30 miles northeast of Detroit Lakes.
Basswood was not wearing a seat belt, according to the Sheriff’s Office.
The Sheriff’s Office reported earlier that Basswood may have swerved to avoid a pedestrian before losing control of his vehicle, but investigators now believe that is not the case, the Sheriff’s Office said.