September 25, 2007

They've Released a Composite Sketch

The man is described as in his early 20s, about 6 feet tall with a medium build

I've been looking through the paper every day, ever since this happened, hoping to see some progress in the investigation. There had been nothing until this afternoon, when they released a composite sketch. There is also a reward.

Article here

Reward Offered In Beating Death Of 76-Year-Old Gardena Woman

POSTED: 9:44 am PDT September 25, 2007

GARDENA, Calif. -- Authorities on Tuesday sought public help to find the killer of a 76-year-old Gardena woman who was beaten to death as she was taking her customary morning walk.

Severa Madrona was attacked about 8:45 a.m. Sept. 18 at Eriel Avenue and 152nd Place, the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department reported.

She died at the scene. Investigators were unsure of a motive for the crime.

Deputies handed out fliers in the neighborhood urging anyone with more information about the crime to call the sheriff's department. Authorities also released a sketch of the man wanted for questioning in the case.

A $10,000 reward was offered by the county Board of Supervisors for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the killer.

Madrona lived in the neighborhood with her daughter and son-in-law.

"She's walking down the street at 8 o'clock in the morning," said Tom Bernard, the victim's son-in-law. "Come on. She would have been 77 Nov. 8. I don't know. This is senseless.

"She had nothing on her. There was no reason for this, none."

Bernard said Madrona has 29 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

Investigators said the woman's body was dragged about 20 feet into a neighbor's back yard. A forensics report said the victim was beaten so severely that investigators could not determine whether the assailant used a weapon.

"He's still out there," said Lt. Pat Nelson of the attacker. "We'd like to prevent this type of occurrence from happening again."

Posted by Valkyre at 11:53 PM | Comments (1)

A Crappy Start to the Day

I don't know if I was dreaming or not, but a persistent sound was working it's way into my sleep. I woke up and it's still there. 4:00am and the neighbor's car alarm is going off. A new model Toyota. It sounded like he was ignoring it, since it wasn't being shut off. Law demands that it go off in three minutes. Six minutes later and it's still going off. I throw on my bathrobe and walk out on the front porch. He's got the doors open and the hood up, but nothing he's doing seems to be working. I considered going across the street and asking him to disconnect the battery, but the way I was feeling at that moment.... Well, let's just say that my language would have come straight from a Quentin Tarantino movie. I tried going back to bed and lay there listening as it went on and on. Suddenly it stopped! Cool. Start to drift off. It starts screaming again. He shuts if off. It starts up again. I was so out of it, that even when he shut it off, I swore I could still hear it. Eventually, I either drifted off to sleep with it still going off, or he finally got it to shut off. Now, I site here exhausted and it's only 9:40am. I still have to go to work. I can almost sympathize for the actress who took a shotgun to her neighbor's car when the alarm wouldn't shut off at 2:00am.

Posted by Valkyre at 09:41 AM | Comments (0)

September 21, 2007

Random and Brutal

This happened only a few blocks away. I am a little scared. So far, the police seem to have no clue as to who did this. Neighbors said that she didn't carry a purse, so it doesn't sound like a robbery. Who could do something like this?

Article here

Slaying of woman called `beyond belief'

The 76-year-old found beaten near her home in El Camino Village was an active great-grandmother who walked 4 miles per day.

By Larry Altman
Staff Writer

A woman found slain in El Camino Village was a 76-year-old great-grandmother whose assailant beat her as she walked just blocks from her home, a detective said Wednesday.

Severa G. Madrona's attacker moved her body into the backyard of a home at 152nd Street and Eriel Avenue after killing her Tuesday morning, sheriff's Sgt. Chris Brackpool said. Madrona had no connection to that house.

Investigators have not determined whether the 5-foot, 90-pound woman was robbed. She was not sexually assaulted, Brackpool said.

Madrona, a mother of eight who had

22 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren, lived on nearby 157th Street. An autopsy is scheduled, but a preliminary examination of her body indicated that Madrona was a victim of blunt force, detectives and coroner's officials said.

"She did have trauma to the upper body," Brackpool said.

Madrona's body was discovered about

8:15 a.m., but she remained unidentified until 10:30 p.m., shortly after her daughter and son-in-law reported her missing.

Virginia and Tom Bernard knew police were investigating a crime nearby, but had no idea it involved Madrona until deputies connected the woman to the missing-person report.

Detectives knocked on their door with the horrible news.

"It's beyond belief," Tom Bernard said. "How could (someone) do that to a 77-year-old lady?"

Madrona would have turned 77 in November, but was so active she looked much younger.

Before detectives identified her, they said the woman appeared to be about 50.

At least twice a day, Madrona took long walks through El Camino Village, going to the nearby community college, chatting with neighbors and visiting friends. She'd walk about 4 miles a day.

"This lady was in tremendous shape," her son-in-law said. "Her medication was zero."

A native of the Philippines, Madrona grew up poor, working on her family's rice farm. She immigrated to the United States about 24 years ago and soon became an American citizen.

Madrona, whose husband died years ago, never missed voting in an election and regularly volunteered as a poll worker.

She spent her days exercising, cooking, cleaning house, pulling weeds from the yard, and worshipping at St. Catherine Laboure Church in Torrance.

"What mattered to her was just her family," her son-in-law said.

larry.altman@dailybreeze.com

HOW TO HELP

Detectives are asking for the public's help to solve the crime. Anyone with information is asked to contact the sheriff's homicide unit at 323-890-5500.

Posted by Valkyre at 11:36 PM | Comments (1)

September 19, 2007

To The Stranger in the White Van

The big White Chevy Van on eastbound Carson Street near the 110 freeway around 3:45pm. The odds of you stumbling across this blog and reading it are slim to none, but here goes anyway. Maybe someone will read this and see that there are still kind people out in the world. Thank you so much for slowing traffic and giving me enough time to exit the In and Out parking lot. I would have probably got out eventually. Maybe when the signal, that's only about 30 feet away from said driveway changed to red, someone would have been kind enough to leave me a gap. That doesn't always happen. That signal is located at the onramp of a busy freeway and a lot of people are in a hurry. Too much of a hurry to leave a gap and let someone get in front of them. There was really no reason to stop, the light was green and you had cars behind you. Fortunately, the heavy traffic was moving slow. I hope you saw my big smile and my "thank you" wave. I was really taken aback and almost didn't move for a second. You probably think what you did was really nothing, but it really made my day. And yes, I will "pay it forward". I always do.

Posted by Valkyre at 08:15 PM | Comments (0)

September 18, 2007

I Ache All Over

I should have known that all hell was going to break loose today. As I started out this morning, I shoved the shift into reverse. Without pressing down the clutch pedal! Gack! Second time I've ever done that since I bought the car. Get into work and go to let the dogs out. As soon as I get inside the kennel I notice water all over the floor. What? Go into the puppy nursery and step into 3 inches of standing water. Shit! There is a tub in there with a slow running faucet that I use to fill the water bowls. Dumbass me had left it running last night. Even though it barely trickles out, it ran non stop for about 14 hours. And, of course, this was not a good time to find out that the drain in the tub was clogged. I hate walking in, first thing in the morning, and seeing right off that the day is going to be shitty. Turned off the water and squeegee as much water as I could towards the drains. I aimed a fan towards the floor to help with evaporation. Shop Vacs! They are a godsend! I attached the squeegee attachment to the shop vac and used it to suck up water and the mess of wet paper. Took me about three hours. Later, I was able to laugh about it. I think I will leave myself a large sign to double check the tap in that tub. I don't want to have to do that again. My arms are really hurting right now due to using the squeegee. It's really wide and mounted on a long handle, like a rake. So, my back hurts too. Hopefully, I will feel better in the morning.

Posted by Valkyre at 10:22 PM | Comments (0)

September 13, 2007

Bleah

Got up this morning and felt like crap. I've had a stubborn cold for a couple of weeks now. I will wake up with a sore throat and congestion. It's just been hanging on. This morning, I woke up with the usual symptoms, along with nausea. There was a weird pain in my stomach. I ate a bowl of oatmeal to see if that would settle my stomach. No go. Pain still there. Since we were out of toast, I decided to try a plain bagel. That may have been a mistake. The pain got worse. Debated whether to call in sick. But, there is no one there who can cover for me. So, I drove into work. By the time I got there, I figured I will try to just put in half a day. Get the essentials done. But, when I started, I really felt like I was going to vomit. The usual smells, which normally don't bother me, were making me ill. I took the day off and came home. I've managed to sip down a Sprite. That's about the only thing that sounded any good. I am feeling a little dizzy. I'm not running a fever, so I am thinking it could be because I haven't had anything to eat all day. I'm going to try to eat a bowl on New England Clam Chowder. That's about the only thing that sounds good right now. Since I'm home though, I've got some thing accomplished. I pulled the covers off the the futon pillows. I also pulled the cover off of the futon mattress and threw them in the wash. I pulled the futon frame away from the wall so I can vacuum the carpet underneath where the vacuum doesn't usually reach. There is a ton of dog hair there. I hope this is a one day thing. I probably should take it easy, but it's hard for me to sit around and do nothing. I feel like I should be working because that's what I do during the week.

Posted by Valkyre at 05:01 PM | Comments (0)

September 11, 2007

September 11, 2001

It's hard to believe that it's been 6 years.

Posted by Valkyre at 08:41 PM | Comments (0)

September 09, 2007

3 Guesses Why I Was Late to Work on Friday

Guess #1: Blue Beetle's battery was completely dead. Would not hold a charge. Could get a jump, but it would be DOA at work. So, I would have to get a jump there.

Guess #2: Grey Beetle's battery is dead too. It can take a charge. However, it needs to be on the charger for a couple of hours. It's battery was run down due to lack of use. New cars need to be driven frequently as the On Board Diagnostics are on constantly running down the battery.

Guess #3: It's not in the picture, but Old Reliable is out of commission too. My old 1972 Chevy Camaro that I've pulled out of mothballs to get me somewhere in a pinch. It's up on jack stands waiting for it's brake to be bled.

I did make it into work, eventually. The Grey Beetle charged up enough to where I could start it. Got into work at 12:30pm instead of my usual 10:00am.

Posted by Valkyre at 04:10 PM | Comments (0)

September 07, 2007

Luciano Pavarotti

Many, many years ago a friend gave me a bottle of Frangelica liquor. Fastened to it, was a free cassette tape. It was several opera songs sung by Luciano Pavarotti. I wasn't really into opera. But, I put the cassette into the player in my Camaro. On those days where traffic was so bad that I would entertain homicidal thoughts, I would push the cassette in and play it. Music soothes the savage beast. Hearing Pavarotti sing would calm me down. I actually started to like opera. Now he's died. But, he will live on with his music.

Article here

Thousands Pay Respects to Pavarotti

By COLLEEN BARRY and TRISHA THOMAS
Associated Press Writers

MODENA, Italy (AP) -- Thousands of mourners filed past the open white casket of Luciano Pavarotti in his hometown cathedral Friday to pay their last respects to the tenor whose charisma and voice were celebrated around the world.

More than 10,000 people have viewed the body of the city's most famous son since Thursday evening, when the public was allowed in just hours after his death from pancreatic cancer at age 71.

Pavarotti's coffin was surrounded by wreaths. He was dressed in white tie and tails, his hands holding the trademark white handkerchief and a rosary. A red veil with an embroidered treble clef was placed at his feet inside his coffin.

"He's a symbol of Modena, a symbol of Italy, he's international," said Simone Sarrau, 32, who waited in line until nearly midnight Thursday. "He's a one of a kind. There's only him, and there will always only be him."

The crowd applauded in a sign of respect as pallbearers carried the casket into the cathedral on Thursday for a viewing that ended at midnight and resumed shortly after dawn Friday.

He is survived by his second wife, Nicoletta Mantovani, their daughter, Alice, and three daughters from his first marriage.

His funeral on Saturday will be televised live and is expected to draw dignitaries from opera, politics and culture.

Premier Romano Prodi was expected to attend the service, his office said, and tenor Andrea Bocelli was scheduled to sing the hymn "Panis Angelicus," which Pavarotti himself performed at the same cathedral in a memorable duet with his father, Fernando, in 1978.

Giant TV screens were set up near the 12th century cathedral for the public, and the air force's precision flying team - the Frecce Tricolori, or Tricolored Arrows - will perform a flyover with contrails of red, white and green in the colors of the Italian flag as the casket is brought out of the cathedral, the ANSA news agency said.

The Modena city hall said the tenor would be buried in the Montale Rangone cemetery, near Modena, where members of his family, including his parents and stillborn son, Riccardo, are buried.

"Pavarotti was the last great Italian voice able to move the world," said Bruno Cagli, president of the Santa Cecilia National Academy in Rome.

His legacy also reached beyond the opera house. He collaborated with classical singers such as soprano Joan Sutherland, but also with pop stars like Elton John, the Spice Girls and Sheryl Crow to bring opera to the masses, rescuing the art from highbrow obscurity in the process.

In many ways, Pavarotti fulfilled the public's imagination of what an opera star should be. He often wore a colorful scarf and a hat, be it a fedora or a beret, and while he didn't always have a beard, it was hard to imagine him without it. His heft - as well as a restaurant on his property in Modena - evinced his gourmet appetite.

But above all, his clear voice, and his prized diction, made him beloved by millions.

As Modena celebrated its most famous son, the atmosphere wasn't sad or tearful but warm. Many brought their children, and thousands of pictures of the tenor were distributed to mourners. Others were grateful to the tenor for making Modena - a quiet city of about 180,000 people near the Po River - famous around the world.

A childhood friend recalled the school days with Pavarotti and the tenor's love of soccer - later matched by his passion for horses.

"When we played soccer, passing him was not easy. He was really big and really strong, but he always played very carefully and with respect, especially for those smaller than him," Giancarlo Pellacani told AP Television News.

Pavarotti was known as "the King of the High Cs" for his ease at hitting the top notes. He was the best-selling classical artist, with more than 100 million records sold since the 1960s, and he had the first classical album to reach No. 1 on the pop charts.

Some of the greatest opera stars were in his debt - from the young talent whom he fostered to Spanish tenor Jose Carreras, who said Pavarotti had supported him in moments of difficulty, including his battle with leukemia.

Pavarotti purposely sought to commercialize opera, scoffing at accusations that he was sacrificing art. He relished that the hugely successful "Three Tenors" concerts with Placido Domingo and Carreras reached 1.5 billion people, filling stadiums.

Some would argue opera owed itself to "Big Luciano."

"When I wanted to construct the Bastille opera house in Paris about 30 years ago, they told me I was crazy. 'Opera was dead,' they said," former French Culture Minister Jack Lang told ANSA. "Pavarotti returned opera to popularity and contributed to its rebirth."

In Los Angeles, Domingo said he "always admired the God-given glory of his voice - that unmistakable special timbre from the bottom up to the very top of the tenor range." In Germany, Carreras told reporters he was "one of the greatest tenors ever."

Pavarotti himself was clear on his legacy. "I think a life in music is a life beautifully spent, and this is what I have devoted my life to," Pavarotti said in a quote posted on his Web site.

---

Associated Press Writer Colleen Barry contributed to this report from Milan, Italy.

Posted by Valkyre at 09:04 AM | Comments (1)

September 06, 2007

Not a Typical Day at Work

Pull up in front of work today and notice pebbled glass next to where a car would usually be parked. I knew that Shannon was supposed to be doing phones today, and I was worried that someone may have stolen her SUV. Run inside and see Susan is on phones. "Where's Shannon? Isn't she doing phones today?" Turns out Shannon was doing a party instead. "What's with the glass out front?" Susan didn't know. I look down the hall and see Carlos is here. "What's with the glass?" Well, it turns out Emma, another employee, had come in early this morning. She was the one who was supposed to be doing the party that Shannon was now doing. Emma is somewhat naive. And, she knowingly locked her purse in her car, in plain view of anyone walking by. And someone walked by. Someone who saw that purse and wanted it enough that they broke her passenger side window to steal it. And, they were taking the time to rifle through it when the Great Dane that guards our business heard them. So, he hit the fence and stuck his rather large head over the gate. Which scared the guy enough, that he dropped Emma's camera. He did get away with her purse, though. No cash, but all her credit cards, license and other forms of ID. When she called the police, they actually scolded her for leaving the purse in plain view. Especially in this neighborhood. It's not exactly safe where I work. The police came out and actually took fingerprints off of the camera to see if this guy was a known felon. Emma took the day off, which is why Shannon was working. She canceled the credit cards immediately. I also suggested she go and check on her free credit reports to make sure that the thief doesn't try to take out credit in her name. I would be worried about identity theft. Now, I don't feel really safe anymore at work. I'm real paranoid about people breaking into my car. I don't really have anything in there. Some coins in one of the cup holders. If this becomes a problem, I may start to commute there in my old beater Camaro.

Posted by Valkyre at 12:09 AM | Comments (2)

September 02, 2007

MySpace vs. Facebook

Many moons ago, I got a MySpace account. I registered and ignored it for several months. Then, I went crazy and updated the whole thing and even found some old friends from high school. It figures that as soon as I do that, I start to hear that Facebook is better. So, what does one do? Get a Facebook account. I've been working on it a little today. And, I added the links to the side of this blog.

Posted by Valkyre at 06:47 PM | Comments (1)