August 27, 2009

An Amazing Story

An 11 year old girl was abducted from South Lake Tahoe back in 1991 turns up alive. I remember this story back from when it happened. It's still hard to believe. Turns out the people who abducted her, held her as a virtual prisoner and abused her. She fathered two children with her abductor.

Article here

Abductee had two children with captor, authorities say

Jaycee Dugard, now 29, was kidnapped near Lake Tahoe in 1991. A sex offender and his wife have been arrested. The victim reportedly spent most of her time in a secret backyard in the Bay Area.

A 58-year-old registered sex offender and his wife have been arrested in the bizarre and nearly two-decade-old kidnapping of an 11-year-old girl who surfaced in the Bay Area this week after state authorities encountered her alleged captor during a separate investigation, authorities said.

Phillip Garrido, a convicted rapist, and his wife, Nancy Garrido, of Antioch were arrested Wednesday night in connection with the kidnapping of Jaycee Dugard, now 29, El Dorado County sheriff's officials said during an afternoon news conference. Dugard is believed to have borne two children with Garrido while held captive.

She was kidnapped 18 years ago near her home in Meyers, just south of Lake Tahoe, and had not been seen since.

Officers found a hidden backyard outside the suspects' home in Antioch, northeast of Oakland, with tents, sheds and outhouses where Dugard and her two daughters spent most of their lives, authorities said.

Dugard's mother, Terry Probyn, has been in contact with her daughter, said Lt. Les Lovell of the Sheriff's Department. "They have discussed things that only the two of them would know," Lovell said. "We are about 99% sure the woman is her."

Lovell was one of the original investigators assigned to the Dugard case.

"It's a great feeling that she is alive," he said. "We followed up on hundreds, if not thousands, of leads. And out of the blue, this one came to us yesterday."

Dugard was 11 when she was abducted June 10, 1991, as she walked to a bus stop on a quiet cul-de-sac in Meyers, in El Dorado County, authorities said.

As Dugard's stepfather, Carl Probyn, watched from the family garage 200 yards away, a late-model gray car -- with a man and a second person, believed to be a woman, inside -- stopped abruptly in front of the girl, authorities said at the time. Jaycee was swept into the sedan.

Probyn gave chase on a bicycle but the car sped off.

Despite a massive search, local outrage and being featured on the "America's Most Wanted" television program, Jaycee was not found. Investigators were unable to identify a suspect.

Authorities got their big break in the case Tuesday when Phillip Garrido was seen with two small children near UC Berkeley. After an encounter with campus police, he was reported to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, said Scott Kernan, undersecretary of adult operations with the department.

On Wednesday, Garrido was taken in for questioning at the department's parole office in Concord, near Berkeley, Kernan said. He was accompanied by two children and two women, later identified as Dugard and his wife.

After being questioned by parole officers, Garrido revealed that he had kidnapped a female, now an adult, who was later identified as Dugard, authorities said.

Garrido was paroled from a Nevada state prison in 1999, authorities said. He has served time in federal custody and in Nevada for sexual assault, rape and kidnapping.

News that Dugard was found brought Carl Probyn to tears Thursday. "It's a miracle that we got her back," Probyn said from his home in Orange County.

Probyn said he was shocked when she was abducted. He said he looked out and saw Jaycee get pulled into the moving car. He jumped on his mountain bike and tried to catch up, but the car sped away. "It was just total shock," he recalled Thursday. "It happened in about 30 seconds."

On Wednesday, Probyn got a call from his wife, Terry Probyn, who said that Dugard had been found and that she was alive. The couple cried.

Probyn said Dugard's kidnapping took a toll on the family. Terry Probyn couldn't celebrate Christmas or birthdays for years. The couple eventually separated about eight years after Dugard's disappearance.

It ended their marriage, he said. "Terry was close to her. It's like having your heart ripped out."

Probyn was questioned several times by FBI officials, he said. The ordeal has been extremely painful for Probyn, who married Terry, a single mother, when Dugard was 7.

"I've never spent a day of my life in jail," Probyn said. "If I did this and got away with it, I'm some kind of genius."

Terry Probyn now lives in Riverside County and flew to Northern California Wednesday to be with her daughter.

Posted by Valkyre at 10:34 PM | Comments (0)

August 14, 2009

He's Gone Viral!

He is the "Crasher" squirrel. He snuck into the frame when a couple was taking a picture of themselves in Banff. His image is also starting to show up in other photos via Photoshop. (Remember "Nerd Boy"?)


The original Crasher Squirrel photo was taken by Melissa and Jackson Brandts in Banff in late May. The image of the squirrel has gone viral since it appeared on the National Geographic's website on Aug. 7. (Melissa Brandts)

Article here

Scene-stealing squirrel crashes Banff tourist photo

A cheeky squirrel in Alberta's Banff National Park has gone viral after stealing the spotlight in a tourist's photo.

Melissa Brandts, who was visiting from Minnesota, had set up her camera on a tripod to capture her and her husband, Jackson, in front of picturesque Lake Minnewanka in May.

"We had our camera set up on some rocks and were getting ready to take the picture when this curious little ground squirrel appeared, became intrigued with the sound of the focusing camera and popped right into our shot!" she wrote.

The ground squirrel became the focus of the picture as the couple faded into the background.

Jackson Brandts took a few more shots using a remote-control shutter.

"A once in a lifetime moment! We were laughing about this little guy for days!" wrote his wife.

The couple submitted the photo to a National Geographic contest. The magazine posted it to an online gallery on Aug. 7.

In less than a week, the Crasher Squirrel, as it's become known, has stormed the internet.

Photoshop enthusiasts have added the furry scene-stealer to family portraits, famous paintings, and even to the top of the Queen's hat with a pile of nuts.

Back at Lake Minnewanka on Thursday, the squirrels continued to charm and confound visitors.

"They are a nice colouring and they come right up to you. They are pretty friendly," said Dean Hartey, visiting from Edmonton.

But Australian tourist Ron Sinclair said all he has are blurry pictures of the ground because the Columbian ground squirrels won't stay still.

"We got lots of photos of rocks," he said.

Tourism officials are delighted with the buzz created by the Crasher Squirrel at a time when the number of international visitors to Banff has slumped.

"The Canadian tourism industry as a whole has certainly been facing unprecedented challenges so the welcome addition of the Columbian ground squirrel as Banff ambassador is good news," said Julie Canning, president and CEO of Banff Lake Louise Tourism.

Posted by Valkyre at 11:41 PM | Comments (0)

August 06, 2009

John Hughes - 2/18/1950 - 8/6/2009

This is a shock! He was so young. His movies came out at a pivotal time in my life. In my late teens and early 20's. I loved The Breakfast Club and watched it over and over again. And, of course had the CD with the Simple Minds "Don't You, Forget About Me". Mike and I were dating when we saw Ferris Bueller's Day Off and Pretty in Pink. Thanks for the happy memories John.

article here.

John Hughes, 59, dies of heart attack

The director-producer, best known for '80s hits like 'Pretty in Pink' and 'Ferris Bueller's Day Off,' died suddenly today while taking a walk in Manhattan.

By Ben Fritz
August 7, 2009

John Hughes, the screenwriter, producer and director whose films captured the teenage zeitgeist of the 1980s, died suddenly of a heart attack today in New York City. He was 59.

Hughes, best known for 1980s movies such as "Sixteen Candles," "The Breakfast Club," "Pretty in Pink" and "Ferris Bueller's Day Off," was taking a morning walk in Manhattan where he was visiting family, according to a statement from his representatives.

In the 1990s, he wrote and produced the "Home Alone" series, creating a box-office phenomenon and turning Macaulay Culkin into a star.

"I was a fan of both his work and a fan of him as a person," Culkin said in a statement. "The world has lost not only a quintessential filmmaker whose influence will be felt for generations, but a great and decent man."

After writing and producing several '90s movies including "Dennis the Menace" and "Flubber," Hughes began distancing himself from Hollywood. Living in the Chicago area, he occasionally did screenplay work on films including "Maid in Manhattan" and "Drillbit Taylor" under the pen name Edmond Dantes (also the name of the protagonist from Alexandre Dumas' novel "The Count of Monte Cristo"), according to the Internet Movie Database. But he is understood to have spent most of his time focused on his four grandchildren.

Jake Bloom, Hughes' longtime attorney and closest contact in Hollywood, told The Times: "My family and I are deeply saddened and in shock. Our only goal is to support his family and make sure they are fine."

Along with his grandchildren, Hughes is survived by his wife Nancy and his two sons John and James.

Times staff writer Claudia Eller contributed to this report.

Posted by Valkyre at 10:20 PM | Comments (0)