Police say girls took infantFORT SMITH, Ark. — Police say two teen girls who ran away from a Fort Smith emergency shelter early Christmas morning with a 9-month-old infant will face criminal charges. Fort Smith police Sgt. Adam Holland said Maria Barosso, 15, and Claudia Amador, 16, ran from officers Thursday morning. After a foot chase, Holland said officers arrested the two teens. Holland said the teens refused to tell officers where 9-month-old Juan Barosso was. Holland says another family member brought the unharmed child to police. Both teens will face charges of endangering the welfare of a child and interfering with custody, as the infant was in state care at the time.
MAN ARRESTED IN JESUS THEFTEUREKA SPRINGS, Ark. — A northwest Arkansas man faces charges after allegedly stealing a fiberglass baby Jesus from a Nativity scene that was later marred with racial slurs, a swastika and a Hitler mustache. Christopher Robin Bell, 19, of Green Forest is charged with misdemeanor theft after allegedly taking the figurine from Eureka Springs’ Basin Park. Police said someone scrawled racial epithets, satanic symbols and other obscene references on the figurine. The face has an Adolf Hitler-style mustache drawn on it. Pieces also were broken off. Bell was arrested Friday, and the statue was recovered from an abandoned house. TEXAS
TREE FIRE BURNS IKE VICTIMS’ HOMESAN LEON, Texas — Firefighters say a dried-out Christmas tree may have started a blaze that destroyed a women’s shelter in a small fishing town still reeling from Hurricane Ike. The fire Thursday gutted the two-story Omega Alpha House in San Leon, where Ike wiped out many homes. No one was hurt in the blaze, but 14 shelter residents lost everything they own. San Leon assistant fire chief Scott Lyons says a Christmas tree may have started the fire at the shelter, which offered drug and alcohol rehabilitation programs for women.
BUST NETS $1.2M IN DRUGSKILLEEN, Texas — Authorities seized $1.2 million worth of drugs and arrested three men in what they are calling the largest cocaine seizure in Bell County history. More than 3,000 grams of powder cocaine and 80 grams of crack cocaine were seized from two townhouses, said Killeen police spokeswoman Carroll Smith. Brothers Kevin Lemar Warren, and Keith Lemar Warren Jr. and Terrance Damien Ford were arrested and charged with possession of cocaine with intent to deliver an amount over 400 grams. If convicted, the men each face up to life in prison and $250,000 fines. KANSAS
MISSING TEXAS DOG FOUNDWICHITA, Kan. — A 4-year-old Houston, Texas, boy got his dog back for Christmas thanks to a Wichita, Kan., woman. The dog, named Bentley, was found Sunday in a church parking lot in Wichita. Lynda Gilder took in the stray and was able to track down the owners because it had a microchip. Gilder left Wednesday with Bentley for Fort Worth, Texas, where she reunited the boy and the dog. Owner Thomas Freeman says Bentley escaped two weeks ago when the family drove through Wichita. LOUISIANA
FIVE SHOT IN BAR FIGHTLUTCHER, La. — Four men and a woman were shot, apparently at random, during a bar fight in Lutcher, La., after a Christmas Eve bonfire. St. James Parish Sheriff Willy Martin said two were in critical condition Thursday at hospitals in Baton Rouge and Ascension Parish, and three were treated and released. Martin said the fight broke out about 1:45 a.m. at The Neighborhood Bar in Lutcher. It was packed with people who had been celebrating around Christmas Eve bonfires lit on Mississippi River levees between New Orleans and Baton Rouge.
MAN ARRESTED IN GATOR THEFTSHOUMA, La. — A Gibson, La., alligator farmer is accused of buying stolen hatchlings. Timothy John Domangue is the fourth person accused in thefts from Walls Alligator Farm. He was booked in Terrebonne Parish this month on two counts of felony possession of stolen alligator hatchlings. The maximum sentence on each count would be 10 years in jail and a $3,000 fine. The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries said agents seized 204 live and two dead hatchlings from the man’s property. COLORADO
STATE TO PAY PRISONS’ BILLSCANON CITY, Colo. — Lawmakers have agreed to pay district attorneys’ offices for prosecuting state inmates accused of committing crimes in prison. The district attorney routinely is reimbursed by the state for these cases. The Department of Corrections said last month it couldn’t pay for any cases since July 1 because two death-penalty cases racked up big bills. The Legislature’s Joint Budget Committee this week agreed to pay the bills.
MAN TO STAND TRIAL IN SLAYINGCORTEZ, Colo. — A judge has ordered a man to stand trial on charges of beating his girlfriend to death after she evicted him from her Cortez, Colo., apartment. Ignacio Ray Rael, 47, is charged with first-degree murder in the Oct. 4 death of Diane D. Cordova. Montezuma County District Judge Sharon Hansen set the trial for April 27. FROM WIRE SERVICES