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REGIONAL BRIEFS: Hospital: Second stillborn unaccounted for

Credit Forum News Service


Hospital: Second stillborn unaccounted for

RED WING, Minn. -- A second stillborn baby may have ended up at a Red Wing laundry, Regions Hospital in St. Paul said Friday.

The hospital released that statement two days after acknowledging that the body of a stillborn boy that tumbled out of linens being prepared for cleaning Tuesday came from the Regions Hospital morgue.

The first baby -- a stillborn, premature boy -- died April 4 at 22 weeks gestation. That body had been wrapped in linens in the morgue. A preliminary investigation found that someone mistakenly thought the bundled body was laundry that needed cleaning.

The second baby was stillborn at 19 weeks.

"We have now ruled out that those remains went to the funeral home or to another location. A tragic human error was made and we believe both sets of remains were mistaken as empty linens and placed in the laundry at the same time by a hospital worker," Boese said.

It is unclear where those remains are now or whether they can be recovered.

The Minnesota Department of Health is making regulatory inquiries. Regions officials said they are cooperating with the state and conducting an internal investigation.

Administrators notified the first family about the mistake Wednesday and to apologize. The second family also was notified. These families miscarried and arranged for the hospital to dispose of the remains.


Blaze damages Moorhead business

MOORHEAD, Minn. -- Moorhead firefighters fought a blaze Friday morning that damaged Mill Creek Custom Cabinets in the city's industrial park.

Assistant Fire Chief Greg Doeden said just before 8 a.m. that the fire was knocked down in the building's interior, but firefighters were still working on hot spots in the attic and walls.

The owner of the business, Myron Martinson, said he received a call at about 6 a.m. from a neighboring business owner who said smoke was coming out of the roof. He said the fire appears to have started in the area of a sawdust collector, but he and fire officials weren't certain of the cause.

Doeden said the fire was confined to the building's warehouse area, while there is smoke damage to the office area on the south end. Martinson said the area damaged by fire contained about $1 million worth of equipment and a lot of inventory of cabinetry.

"We've lost a lot. A lot. We were booked through September," Martinson said.

He said the business owned by him and his wife, Kathy, employs 14 people who are now temporarily out of work.

Martinson said no one was in the roughly 8,000-square-foot building when the fire started.


North Dakota

Language of abortion petitions approved

GRAND FORKS, N.D. -- A group of local petitioners received the official go-ahead Friday from North Dakota's secretary of state to begin collecting signatures to put three recently passed anti-abortion laws to a statewide vote.

The chairman of the committee, Gary Hangsleben, 67, said he received approval from Secretary of State Al Jaeger shortly before 5 p.m. Friday. Jaeger received the petitions April 2 and has since been improving the petitions' language with the cooperation of the committee.

The committee now has a little over two months to gather 13,452 signatures for each petition. Hangsleben, who identifies himself as pro-life, said hundreds of volunteers in Grand Forks, Bismarck, Minot and Fargo are ready to begin collecting signatures.

The petitions target three anti-abortion laws signed by Gov. Jack Dalrymple on March 26.

The Red River Women's Clinic in Fargo, the state's only abortion clinic, has come out in opposition of the petitions. The clinic and the Center for Reproductive Rights, a legal advocacy group, are planning to fight the anti-abortion laws in court.

The laws would go into effect Aug.1, but if petitioners get enough signatures, they would be put on hold until the next scheduled election. Unless the governor chooses to hold a special election, the next general election would be June 2014.


Man could face lifetime commitment in murder case

FARGO - In a bizarre series of court hearings Friday, a Fargo man accused of stabbing his wife told a judge that the Holy Ghost and Jesus Christ were commanding him to ask for a jury trial.

Minutes later, Henry Leo Deniger Sr. waived his right to a jury trial and agreed to have a bench trial. It lasted less than 20 minutes and ended with the judge finding him not guilty by reason of a lack of criminal responsibility.

Judge Steven McCullough ordered that Deniger be returned to the State Hospital in Jamestown, where he'll be evaluated to determine whether he's mentally ill and whether there's a substantial risk that he might commit another violent offense.

Because the Class AA felony murder charge against Deniger carried a maximum sentence of life in prison without parole, he now faces up to a lifetime commitment at the State Hospital. A court hearing to determine his fate will be held in 90 days, attorneys said.

Before declaring Deniger not guilty, McCullough said the court found that "the acts which would constitute the crime occurred and that Mr. Deniger did them." Both Deniger and prosecutors had stipulated to the facts of the case, the judge said.

Deniger, 51, was accused of fatally stabbing his wife, Kathye Deniger, 52, whose body was found in the couple's south Fargo apartment on March 6, 2012. Police arrested Deniger the next day at a McDonald's restaurant in St. Cloud, Minn.


Williston standoff suspect identified

WILLISTON, N.D. -- A man accused of shooting at officers during a standoff here Thursday was identified Friday as 59-year-old Ernest Schroeder.

The North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigation arrested Schroeder on suspicion of reckless endangerment, according to a news release Friday from Williston police Sgt. Detective David Peterson. Schroeder is being held in the Williams County Jail.

Williams County property tax records show that Schroeder owns the home at 407 W. Broadway, where police responded to a 911 call at 2:34 p.m. Thursday after a woman in the home reported hearing a gunshot in the basement.

When officers arrived at the scene, a gunshot was heard from inside the residence, Peterson said.

The suspect then shot a rifle out the front door of the home in the direction of officers and officers returned fire, wounding Schroeder, Peterson said.

Schroeder eventually surrendered and was transported for medical treatment. No other injuries were reported.


Corps to raise Grafton levee to record height

GRAND FORKS, N.D. -- The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will start building a clay levee in Grafton next week, possibly to 18 feet -- higher than it's believed to ever have been before.

The city faces more than a 25 percent chance of the Park River surpassing a record crest of 16.52 feet, a mark established in 1950.

The National Weather Service this week said there's a 50-50 chance of the Park River exceeding 15.9 feet, and a 25 percent chance of passing 16.9 feet.

Local officials do not recall ever building a levee close to that level before.

"I think the highest before was 16 feet," Walsh County Emergency Manager Brent Nelson said. "Based on the weather forecast, there's definitely some concern about a large-scale flood event."

Snowpack and snow moisture content in the Park River Basin is well above normal and higher than the surrounding area, officials said. Three branches of the Park River converge at Grafton, on their way to the Red River.