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Last Days

The Week in Review, March 24-30

MONDAY, MARCH 24 This week of baffled pastors, unlucky boaters, and fatal faith healing kicks off with a 21st-century nightmare, courtesy of the online message board Craigslist. Details come from the Associated Press, which reports today's saga commenced Saturday afternoon, with the posting of a Craigslist ad announcing a home in Jacksonville, Oregon, had been declared abandoned by the sheriff's department, and offering the remaining belongings—from the furnishings in the house to the horse in the barn—free for the taking. Unfortunately, the ad was a hoax. The home had not been abandoned; its owner—independent contractor Robert Salisbury—had merely gone off for an afternoon at nearby Emigrant Lake. On his drive home, Salisbury spotted a truck loaded with his work ladders, lawn mower, and weed eater. "I informed them I was the owner, but they refused to give the stuff back," Salisbury told the AP. "They showed me the Craigslist printout and told me they had the right to do what they did." Once home, Salisbury was greeted by "close to 30" rummagers. "They honestly thought that because it appeared on the internet, it was true," said Salisbury. "It boggles the mind." Salisbury supplied authorities with looters' license-plate numbers, and police say pillaged items can be returned, "no questions asked."

TUESDAY, MARCH 25 We continue with the first of the week's two stories involving children killed by religion. Today's saga comes from Weston, Wisconsin, where Dale and Leilani Neumann face possible criminal charges after their daughter was pronounced dead from undiagnosed diabetes. Details come from the Associated Press, which reports 11-year-old Madeline Neumann died Sunday, with an autopsy determining the cause of death to be diabetic ketoacidosis, a treatable ailment that left Madeline with too little insulin in her body, exposing her to roughly 30 days of nausea, vomiting, excessive thirst, loss of appetite, and weakness before ultimately killing her. "She got sicker and sicker until she was dead," said Police Chief Dan Vergin to the AP. As for the parents: They told investigators their daughter last saw a doctor eight years ago to "get some shots" and attributed her death to a lack of faith. In lieu of medical attention, Chief Vergin said, the parents believed "it was better to keep praying. Call more people to help pray." One of those called: a relative in California, who phoned Wisconsin police out of fear the girl was "extremely ill, dire." Officers arrived at the home and rushed Madeline to the hospital, where she was pronounced dead. As for the parents' deadly faith: "They have a little Bible study of a few people," said Vergin, but the family does not attend an organized church or participate in an organized religion. The girl's death remains under investigation, with findings forwarded to the district attorney to review for possible charges. Creepy fact: In addition to the now-dead Madeline, the Neumanns have three living children, ranging in age from 13 to 16. "They are still in the home," said Chief Vergin. "There is no reason to remove them. There is no abuse or signs of abuse that we can see."

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 26 Today brings a damn sad story from Seattle's Wallingford neighborhood, where this morning some psycho shot a hunting arrow into a 150-pound mastiff—which, for those readers lacking breed-visualization skills, is one of those huge, droopy-faced Turner & Hooch dogs. Today's mastiff, named Conan, was found this morning with an arrow through its torso by owners Liam and Amanda O'Hara; by end of day, internal bleeding caused by the arrow will result in Conan's death. While Seattle police investigate the killing, the Humane Society is offering a $2,500 reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction. "[S]tudies have shown that someone who can commit this level of violence against an animal may be capable of violence against people," said Seattle Animal Shelter enforcement supervisor Ann Graves to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. "Someone knows who did this and we must find whomever is responsible."

••In other impaled-animal news: Today brings an update on the pigeon running around Seattle with a syringe stuck through its head like an arrow. First reported last week by Hot Tipper Melyssa and subsequently acknowledged by numerous commenters on Slog, The Stranger's blog, the celebrity pigeon was spotted again today by Hot Tipper Jason, who writes, "Unless there are two pigeons with metal objects through their heads roaming Seattle, it is not a syringe. It is a blowgun dart with a blue tip. Pretty messed up to do that to a bird, unless you are homeless and plan to eat it." Agreed, and thank you to Hot Tipper Stephen for the photographic evidence.

THURSDAY, MARCH 27 Speaking of pigeons: The subject of today's story hails from Pigeon, Michigan—57-year-old Judy Kay Zagorski, whose name we may never have known had she stayed in her Midwest hometown. As fate would have it, Zagorski traveled to the Florida Keys, where today she was riding in a motorboat driven by her father on the Atlantic Ocean side of Vaca Key, when a 75-pound stingray flew out of the water and fatally struck her in the face. As the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission told the Associated Press, Ms. Zagorski's death most likely resulted from the impact, though further tests will reveal whether she has any puncture wounds from the ray's barb. "Rays jump to escape a predator, give birth, and shake off parasites," said sea-life expert Lynn Gear to the AP. "They do not attack people." Except when they accidentally do. RIP, Judy Kay Zagorski.

FRIDAY, MARCH 28 Nothing happened today, unless you count the discovery of Reverend Craig Rhodenizer—the New York pastor declared missing by his family after disappearing Wednesday afternoon—at a strip club in Riverdale, Ohio, early this morning. "When [police] had contact with him, he appeared to be very distraught and very emotional," said Lewiston Sergeant Frank Previte to the Buffalo News. "He told the officers that he did not know how he got there or where he was." The 46-year-old Rhodenizer, pastor of Lyndonville, New York's St. John's Lutheran Church, was taken to a Dayton hospital for further evaluation.

SATURDAY, MARCH 29 We continue with the second of the week's two stories involving children killed by religion. Today's setting: Clackamas County, Oregon, where 15-month-old Ava Worthington died on March 2 from what the state medical examiner identified as bacterial bronchial pneumonia and an infection—two illnesses that could have been easily cured with antibiotics. Unfortunately for Ava, her parents belong to Oregon City's Followers of Christ Church, which ABC News reports "has a history of shunning medical care in favor of faith healing." So instead of taking their mortally ill baby to a doctor, 28-year-old Carl Worthington and his 25-year-old wife, Raylene, chose to pray for her recovery. Unfortunately for the Worthingtons, their prayers failed, after which both parents were charged with second-degree manslaughter. "This is child abuse, plain and simple," said state senator Mark Hass. "There is no other way to say it."

SUNDAY, MARCH 30 Nothing happened today. recommended

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