puffinburger.jpgA 6-year-old boy named Cole Puffinburger is missing under mysterious circumstances in Nevada.
According to the Las Vegas Metro Police, Cole was kidnapped from his residence around 7:15 this morning. Authorities say three hispanic men abducted the child during the course of a robbery. The men allegedly knocked on the door of the residence and said they were police. They entered and bound Puffinburger’s mother and “a male friend.” The men allegedly searched the home for money and found none. So they took Cole, instead.
Read this paragraph from the Nevada Amber Alert about the descriptions of the suspects:

The reason why there was a delay in the AMBER Alert activation was that LVMPD did not have a reliable vehicle or suspect description, however, they have now given us a description of one of the three Hispanic males who are now suspects.

Police say the suspects have Hispanic accents. One suspect has slicked-back, shoulder-length hair. He is in his 30s, 5’7″ and 150 lbs.
There is no description available of any vehicle that might have been involved in this case.
I hope Cole comes home safe and sound. But there’s something really weird about this Amber Alert. A quick check of Google Maps seems to show that the area from which Cole was abducted is not rural at all. No one saw a vehicle with three hispanic men and a blond 6-year-old?
As they like to say on certain message boards, I’m afraid my hinky meter has been tripped, here.
AMW’s entry about Cole’s kidnapping gives a little more detail. I’m not sure it makes me less suspicious. From America’s Most Wanted:

Cops tell AMW that two Hispanic males, posing as police officers and carrying handguns, entered a private residence near Hollywood and Lake Mead Boulevards at about 7:00 a.m. on Oct. 15, 2008 and demanded money from the boy’s grandfather. However, investigators say the grandfather has not lived at that house since May 2007.

Cops told AMW that the men only kidnapped Cole after they ransacked the place and couldn’t find any money.
The story is almost plausible. But almost doesn’t strike me as good enough. Just saying.
[AmberAlert.NV.gov and Las Vegas Sun via ShadowScope]

badclowngee01a.jpgHappy as always to rope the constant reader into my own clown-centric fears, I bring you this tale of creepiness from the South Side of Chicago.
Apparently a man has been working in and around South Mackninaw and South Normal streets to try and lure children to his vehicle. The man typically drives either a white 4-door van with broken windows in the rear or a brown pickup.
The creep does his thing while wearing full clown makeup, a wig, and carrying balloons. He goes up to kids to try and get them to accompany him, but kids so far have been wise to him — they’ve already called 911 on the guy at least once. As far as police can tell, he tried to run his game on October 7, just before 6 in the evening, and on October 10, just before 9 in the morning.
Community alerts place Pennywise — er, the alleged wannabe abductor on the ground in the Garfield Park community, near Beidler Elementary School and not all that far from the Polaris Charter Academy.
According to the Chicago Sun-Times, anyone with relevant information can call 312-747-8272.
If he were still around, I’m sure this creepy clown’s fellow (former) Chicago-area resident John Gacy would be offended at this pervy plagiarist trying to co-opt his vibe.
[Chicago Sun-Times and Fox News.]

caseymanthony.JPGIt’s a given that we shouldn’t expect neutral reporting from anyone associated with the Nancy Grace show where Casey Anthony is concerned, but I’d imagine that show is also pretty tied in to good sources working the case. That’s why the CNN.com article written by Grace producer Natisha Lance (linked at the end of this post) is so interesting. Particularly this passage, describing today’s arrest of the alleged killer mom:

Anthony was arrested during a traffic stop after the indictment and taken to jail, an Orange County Sheriff’s Department spokesman said.
Undercover officers followed Anthony as she traveled in her mother’s SUV. The officers saw the SUV stop under a highway overpass, at which point Anthony got into another vehicle and drove off. Officers made the traffic stop after she entered the second vehicle, the spokesman said.

Emphasis was added.
Reading that I couldn’t help but think of Scott Peterson’s arrest in La Jolla, CA in April, 2003. Peterson said he was meeting some people at the Torrey Pines golf course, but police felt pretty sure Peterson was making a run for the border. The large amount of cash he had at the time together with multiple credit cards and camping equipment didn’t make Peterson all that believable, either (the countdown to the inevitable Peterson troll who posts defenses of Scott on ALL blog entries even halfway referencing the case has just begun).
The passage quoted above was buried in the middle of the story, but it stood out in neon, to me. I’ll be very interested to learn what reasons Casey might have had for making that odd stop and vehicle switch. I’m sure her mother, Cindy Anthony, will have some sort utterly implausible explanation ready for the news cameras very soon.
A friend e-mailed shortly after this post was up to tell me that Casey’s vehicle switch was to the bail bondsman’s gray SUV. My friend wrote that “There was communication between Cindy and [bail bondsman]Mike MacDonald about Myfox orlando ‘chasing’ or following them from Jose [Baez’s] office.” My tipster added, “Mr. MacDonald also may have been concerned about her whereabouts at that point as well.”

LA Weekly‘s Steven Mikulan published “The Strange and Disturbing Trial of Anand Jon” last week. It’s an excellent story about the rape trial of Indian-born clothing designer Anand Jon. Jon faces multiple sex crime charges in California, New York and Dallas. Quoting Mikulan: “Even in its quietest moments, the Jon case is a volatile fable of rape, ambitious but na├»ve girls, the rag trade and feral male vanity.” Mikulan’s article is well worth the read for anyone fascinated by the intersection of crime and celebrity (of a sort).

findingcaylee.jpgCNN has reported on-air that a grand jury in Orange County Florida is prepared to indict Casey Anthony for the first degree murder of her daughter Caylee, who vanished last summer. If this is indeed a true bill from the grand jury, Casey will go to jail and be held without bail until she goes to trial. It didn’t take them long. From WFLA Radio: “The 19 grand jurors — 10 women and nine men — deliberated for about half an hour before returning the indictment.” Yeah, I know — ’bout damned time, isn’t it? [CNN]

Soldier Robert Marko, age 21, wrote the following on his MySpace profile, kept under screen name Rex290:

I’m pure blooded Black Raptor born as human and one day will join the ranks of my fellow people, until till them i will keep fighting against humans and will do so till the day i die, i’m becomeing a true Black Raptor already, i’m becomeing a cold hearted killer and can kill without mercy or reason. Also it is my lifes goal to bring down the word of god by fear and by doing all those that belive in fucking false god will come to fear my name and the name of my people The Black Raptors…

robertmarko.jpgMarko was assigned to the Fourth Brigade, Fourth Infantry Division at Fort Carson, in Colorado. He listed some of his best friends’ names on his profile. It isn’t known whether they were fellow soldiers or not. Marko’s headline read: “*We Ride Together* *We Die Together* *Bad Boys For Life* *JR, Robert, Andy, and Ron Best Friends Until Death*”
One of Rex290/Marko’s 297 or so friends on MySpace was Judilianna Lawrence, age 19. She was Judi to her friends.
Judi’s mother, Aekyong Lawrence, told ABC News that Judi had a learning disability — ADHD. She said Judi was a sweet girl who had struggled with her learning problems since elementary school.
The last time Judi was seen alive was prior to a school bowling trip on Friday, October 10. Judi didn’t go. She allegedly left with a man driving an 8-year-old, yellow Jeep Cherokee.
That man, according to police in El Paso County, CO, was the self-professed Black Raptor and “cold-blooded killer,” Robert Marko.
Marko was arrested Monday night in connection with Judi’s disappearance. Her disappearance, and her murder. Judilianna Lawrence was found Monday afternoon on Old Stage Road in El Paso County.
If police are correct about Robert Marko, then the soldier who seemed bound and determined to become the ne plus ultra of the human apex predator got his start by preying on a good-hearted young woman who had a marked learning disability. If Marko is a killer, he targeted a singularly weak and trusting victim.
Which, if true, would make him nothing but a conscienceless animal. And in prison, it would make him not an apex predator, but one of the targets at the bottom of the food chain.
More links relevant to Robert Markos:
* Marko’s dating profile on Plentyoffish.com.
* Marko’s personal profile at Vampirefreaks.com. He wrote the following on that page:

I’m PFC Marko,Robert of the US Army, as of now i’m fighting for my country in Iraq. Also i’m Know as Rex290, that is who i was in my past life and will become someday and will fight to bring peace to all my people, the Black Raptors. If ur a single female ages 18 to 20 that can accept my belifes and not try to change them, then look me up kk. I also looking for any goth or emo females, same ages who are looking for a semi goth soldier, if u all hit me up, my contact links as follow. MSN: dragon_dragon290@hotmail.com Yahoo: dragon_dragon290 AIM: unitedspacecore add me if u wish to chat to me, all others leave me alone is that clear kk Comander Rex290 out

He gave his “likes” as “paintball, snowboarding and death.”
* This link takes you to a post Rex290 made on a message board explaining that “Black Raptors” was a role-playing game (RPG).
* A Rex290 who shared an e-mail address with PFC Robert Marko posted a message in the forum at GetDare.com. Reading it in light of his arrest in connection with a murder, it was hard to view the author of the message as your run-of-the-mill sadist seeking a hookup. Rex290 wrote that he was “seeking a female slave, any age kk.” He was seeking “someone who will do as i say and not question me to much.” He said he respected limits, but preferred “that u dont have any kk.” Rex290 said he was “into pain,” seeing what a woman’s private parts could take. Rex290, however, was not “into bloob [sic].” At least not “to [sic]much.” There was only one other message in the thread, a site staff member chastising him for posting the same message too many times in one month.
* Still another “master seeking slave” ad Rex290 posted at GetDare.com — Anyone else feel like he was looking for more than a willing masochist? This ad was posted on April 4 of this year:

I’m looking for female slave in Colorado Springs,CO region, my current e-mail is down right now kk, i’m looking for possible offline relationship. I only want females in Colorado Springs region kk, u can pm me here or e-mail me at dragon_dragon290@yahoo.com kk. […] What i’m looking for is female with no limits and loves pain kk, if u think u are her, hit me up kk

Again, a staff member for the site responded to Rex290’s post: “could I just say no limits is impossible cos that could include cutting her head off for all she knows, so maybe be a bit more spacific about the pain etc…”
* Rex290 tried one more time, on May 22, 2008. He wrote a similar message to the one quoted immediately above, and added the following graphic coda: “The things i going to have u do: […] Nipple/Boob torture/pain, anal, and pussy kk…”
[ABC News via Black and Missing.]

Earlier this afternoon Philadelphia police stopped a guy going the wrong way down a one-way and something crazy ensued — the driver told them he had explosives inside his vehicle. Now Roosevelt Blvd is closed and SWAT is on the scene. The guy is just sitting in the car smoking. You can take a look at a traffic cam that appears to be pointed directly at the car in question here. Just hit F5 to refresh and get new images. Clicking the image on the right will take you to the same page.
Watching the traffic cam, things just went from odd to bizarre. Images to come.
phillytrafficcamthumb.jpgThe standoff ended peacefully enough. The man in the car got out with a bullhorn, wearing a mask and an outfit with a large “T” on it. He stood for a time in front of the vehicle before walking towards police, bullhorn in hand the entire time. He was ultimately taken down by a gaggle of officers and taken away in a van. The subject appeared to be a black man in his 30s or 40s. It also looked as though he’d prepared a costume of some sort, which is truly peculiar. Judge for yourself by clicking the image on the left, which takes you to a sequence of frames from the traffic camera pointed at the man’s vehicle.
The things you miss when the cable newsers go all-politics all the time…[MyFox Philadelphia and NBC10.com.]

genericrimescenephoto.jpgThe 911 call came in around 11 a.m. on Sunday. Bob and Ellen Sheldon were dead. The Sheldons’ son had grown worried on Sunday when Robert “Bob” Sheldon and his wife Ellen didn’t show up for church. He went to check on his parents at their residence on Black Powder Lane.
Robert Charles Sheldon and Ellen Louise Ogden were 19 and 20 respectively when they married in 1957. The Sheldons and the Old Cabin Shop had been integral parts of the local community ever since. Before the police officially named the couple as the victims of a double homicide, a local who knew the Sheldons wrote about the crime online.
“Scarecrow” posted his message in the general chat forum at MCarterBrown.com. He stated that his “friend and mentor” had been murdered:

A good friend Robert Sheldon and his Wife Ellen were murdered in their home this morning. ‘Bob’ and Ellen Sheldon run the local gun and archery store called ‘The Old Cabin Shop.’ He has been in business over fifty years. When he first opened, my grandfather Bill King was the gunsmith Mr. Sheldon turned to anytime he had a problem he couldn’t fix himself. As Bill King’s grandson I was afforded special courtesy in his shop. Something that few others could say. Bob encouraged me to pursue gunsmithing and metalworking and sent more than a few customers my way.
I can only say that at this time I am seething with anger. I cannot imagine what sort of low life would do this. I am loosing what little regard I have for the human race. I’m sorry to say that here, because there are a lot of good people on this board and in the paintball community. But there are also a lot of people out there in this world who are a waste of resources…

It was a grim irony — Bob and Ellen Sheldon had worked with weapons all their lives, but clearly, someone caught them unawares.
Police have yet to officially disclose the couple’s names. A press conference will be held in Joplin at 9 a.m. this morning.
The investigation is ongoing, and involves police from Carthage and Webb City as well as the Missouri State Highway Patrol. I have a feeling “Scarecrow” wasn’t exaggerating; the deaths of elderly pillars of the community like Bob and Ellen Sheldon is perhaps a bit of a personal cause for local law enforcement now. Hopefully it will just be a matter of time before an arrest is made.
[The Joplin Globe]

Some stories you just note because they make you wonder what the hell is wrong with people. This is one of them. Just before 10 p.m. on Thursday night, some young people got out of a Honda Civic and doused a homeless man with gas. They set him on fire. The heavyset man, called Grimley by area residents, tried to run. The kids gave chase and once again doused him with more fuel before they fled. The LAPD don’t have Grimley’s real name yet and they are looking for at least one 20-something guy seen leaving the area. According to locals, Grimley was dirty and he smelled bad, but he never harmed anyone. Like I said… what the hell is wrong with people? [Los Angeles Times]