CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — Searchers found human remains on Saturday that could be those of a University of Virginia sophomore who has been missing since Sept. 13, police said.
Further forensic tests are needed to confirm whether the remains are those of Hannah Graham, but Graham’s parents were notified of the preliminary findings, Charlottesville Police Chief Timothy Longo told a news conference.
The Albemarle County Police Department also said a volunteer search for Graham that had been planned for Sunday has been canceled so law enforcement can turn their attention to the new evidence.
Longo said a search team from the Chesterfield County Sheriff’s Office found the remains on an abandoned property in southern Albemarle County — the same region where police found the body of 20-year-old Virginia Tech student Morgan Harrington three months after she vanished in 2009.
Last month, after arresting a suspect in Graham’s disappearance, police said they found a “forensic link” between the two cases.
DALLAS — Just minutes after Thomas Eric Duncan arrived for a second time at the emergency room, the word is on his chart: “Ebola.” But despite all the warnings that the deadly virus could arrive unannounced at an American hospital, for days after the admission, his caregivers are vulnerable.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has pointed to lapses by the hospital in those initial days. And Duncan’s medical records show heightened protective measures as his illness advanced. But either because of a lag in implementing those steps or because they were still insufficient, scores of hospital staffers were put at risk, according to the records.
The hospital’s protective protocol was “insufficient,” said Dr. Joseph McCormick of the University of Texas School of Public Health, who was part of the CDC team that investigated the first recorded Ebola outbreak in 1976. “The gear was inadequate. The procedures in the room were inadequate.”
Duncan’s medical records, provided by his family to The Associated Press, show Nina Pham, the first Texas nurse to be diagnosed with Ebola, first encountered the patient after he was moved to intensive care at 4:40 p.m. on Sept. 29, more than 30 hours after he came to the ER. Nearly 27 hours later, Amber Joy Vinson, a second nurse who contracted the disease, first appears in Duncan’s charts.
SALISBURY, N.C. — Thomas Eric Duncan was remembered Saturday as a big-hearted and compassionate man whose virtues may have led to his infection with Ebola in his native Liberia and subsequent death as the first victim of the disease in the United States.
Family and friends gathered at a small Southern Baptist church with a primarily Liberian flock near where Duncan’s mother and other family members live.
Duncan’s neighbors in Liberia believe he was infected by helping a pregnant woman who later died from Ebola. It was unclear if he knew about her diagnosis before traveling to the United States.
Duncan denied helping his Ebola-sickened neighbor, but it would be consistent with the caring nature he always showed, said his nephew Josephus Weeks of nearby Kannapolis.
“There’s no doubt in my mind that what’s described in the news is something that Eric would do,” said Weeks, who like Duncan is 42 and grew up in the same households as his uncle.
“Eric would have been out there and helped that woman.
And he would have done everything that he needed to do for that woman to make sure she was fine.”
Retired United Methodist bishop Arthur Kulah said Duncan attended a high school the cleric helped establish in neighboring Ivory Coast for refugees from the Liberian civil war that raged through the 1990s. To generate much-needed income, Duncan jury-rigged a telephone connection allowing fellow refugees to contact family abroad for help, Kulah said.
In Texas and elsewhere, Supreme Court objects to last-minute changes to voting rules
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court has allowed Texas to use its strict voter ID law in the November election even after a federal judge said the law was the equivalent of a poll tax and threatened to deprive many blacks and Latinos of the right to vote this year.
Like earlier orders in North Carolina, Ohio and Wisconsin, the justices’ action before dawn on Saturday, two days before the start of early voting in Texas, appears to be based on their view that changing the rules so close to an election would be confusing.
Of the four states, only Wisconsin’s new rules were blocked, and in that case, absentee ballots already had been mailed without any notice about the need for identification.
Texas has conducted several low-turnout elections under the new rules — seven forms of approved photo ID, including concealed handgun licenses, but not college student IDs. The law has not previously been used in congressional elections or a high-profile race for governor.
The Supreme Court’s brief unsigned order, like those in the other three states, offers no explanation for its action. In this case, the Justice Department and civil rights groups were asking that the state be prevented from requiring the photo ID in the Nov. 4 election, where roughly 600,000 voters, disproportionately black and Latino, lack acceptable forms of ID.
Family: Burned survivor of fatal house fire lost his new wife, her 4 children and his father
MCKEESPORT, Pa. (AP) — The sole survivor of a deadly house fire in western Pennsylvania lost his new wife, her four young children and his disabled father in the Saturday morning blaze after the recently married couple tried to save their loved ones, family members said.
The fire in the Pittsburgh suburb of McKeesport claimed the lives of Hope Jordan and four children ages 2 to 7, as well as the surviving victim’s paralyzed father, according to family members.
Keith Egenlauf was hospitalized with burns over 55 percent of his body from the fast-moving fire that erupted shortly before 7 a.m., according to his aunt, Donna Ackerman. Egenlauf was in critical condition in the burn unit at UPMC Mercy hospital in Pittsburgh, according to a nursing supervisor.
Egenlauf and Jordan, whose Facebook page indicated they were married Dec. 7, initially escaped the flames but went back into the burning two-story house to try to save Jordan’s children and Egenlauf’s 56-year-old father, Ronald Edward Egenlauf, Ackerman said.
Relatives identified the children as Jordan’s son and three daughters: Dominic Jordan, 7; Autumn Jordan, 6; Serenity Jakub, 3; and Victoria Jakub, 2.
Canada’s coast guard says Russian container ship carrying fuel drifting again in rough seas
PRINCE RUPERT, British Columbia (AP) — A disabled Russian container ship carrying hundreds of tons of fuel is adrift again but officials said Saturday there is no immediate risk of it reaching shore, hitting rocks and causing a spill.
Royal Canadian Navy Lt. Greg Menzies said a tow line from the Coast Guard ship Gordon Reid got detached, but he noted that the Russian vessel is now 24 nautical miles (44 kilometers) away from shore. Menzies said efforts are under way to get the line re-attached.
The Canadian Coast Guard vessel Sir Wilfrid Laurier and the U.S. Coast Guard cutter Spar were also on hand to assist if needed, while an ocean-going tugboat was expected to arrive in the area late Saturday or early Sunday.
The Russian container ship Simushir lost power off Haida Gwaii, also known as the Queen Charlotte Islands, as it made its way from Everett in Washington state to Russia. The 10 crew members on board were continuing to try to repair the broken oil heater that has left the vessel disabled, Menzies said.
The Council of the Haida Nation said the weather forecast has the winds subsiding until early Sunday morning, providing a window to attach another tow line.
Catholic bishops scrap watered-down welcome to gays in document in sign of deep division
VATICAN CITY (AP) — Catholic bishops scrapped their landmark welcome to gays Saturday, showing deep divisions at the end of a two-week meeting sought by Pope Francis to chart a more merciful approach to ministering to Catholic families.
The bishops approved a final report covering a host of issues related to Catholic family life, acknowledging there were “positive elements” in civil heterosexual unions outside the church and even in cases when men and women were living together outside marriage.
They also said the church must respect Catholics in their moral evaluation of “methods used to regulate births,” a seemingly significant deviation from church teaching barring any form of artificial contraception.
But the bishops failed to reach consensus on a watered-down section on ministering to homosexuals. The new section had stripped away the welcoming tone of acceptance contained in a draft document earlier in the week.
Rather than considering gays as individuals who had gifts to offer the church, the revised paragraph referred to homosexuality as one of the problems Catholic families face. It said “people with homosexual tendencies must be welcomed with respect and sensitivity,” but repeated church teaching that marriage is only between a man and a woman.
Iraq lawmakers approve interior, defense ministers to complete formation of government
BAGHDAD (AP) — Iraqi lawmakers approved Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi’s remaining Cabinet nominees on Saturday, including for the critical defense and interior portfolios, completing the formation of a government that will strive to push the Islamic State extremist group out of the sprawling territory it has seized in recent months.
Control over the two powerful security ministries has long been a source of tension among Iraq’s feuding political factions. The U.S. and other allies have been pushing for a more representative government that can reach out to Sunnis, who felt marginalized by former Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. Sunni discontent is widely seen as having fueled the IS group’s dramatic advances in Iraq since June, when it captured the country’s second largest city Mosul.
Khaled al-Obeidi, a Sunni lawmaker from Mosul, was selected for the post of defense minister, by a vote of 175-85. He had served as an officer in Saddam Hussein’s military and holds a PhD in political science.
Mohammed Salem al-Ghabban, a Shiite lawmaker with al-Abadi’s State of Law political bloc, was approved as minister of interior by a 197-63 vote. He holds degrees from universities in both Tehran and London and he is currently pursuing a PhD in political science in Baghdad. He was a long-time opponent of Saddam and was detained in 1979.
Hoshyar Zebari, a Kurdish politician and Iraq’s long-serving foreign minister, was named minister of finance, having previously been voted in as deputy prime minister. Shiite lawmaker Adel Fahd al-Shirshab was named tourism minister, and Kurdish lawmaker Bayan Nouri was appointed minister of women’s affairs.
AP PHOTOS: Catholics venerate Lima’s patron saint in colorful procession through downtown
LIMA, Peru (AP) — Thousands of people crowded into downtown Lima on Saturday to participate in a procession at the start of a five-day festival that carries a painting of the capital’s patron saint, the Lord of Miracles, on daily treks through the streets.
Believers, many of them dressed in purple, came to pay tribute and ask for miracles during the Andean country’s largest Roman Catholic event. They accompanied a huge copy of a 17th century mural of Jesus Christ from Las Nazarenas church where it is normally kept to the Cathedral of Lima, where it was to stay overnight.
Men hoisted a heavy silver platform holding the image while women in white veils perfumed the air with smoky incense and prayed with rosaries as the procession made its way through downtown. People living in apartment buildings along the way watched from windows decorated in purple and white.
The mural of Jesus on the cross was painted by an Angolan slave in Las Nazarenas church. After a devastating earthquake in 1655, the wall with the mural was one of the few parts of the church still intact. Deeming this a miracle, people gave the image an additional name — “The Christ of Earthquakes.”
A replica was made to carry in the religious procession every October, which Peruvians consider the month of earthquakes.