Officials in Oklahoma on Wednesday released the names of the 24 people killed in the tornado that ripped through Oklahoma City and the suburb of Moore earlier this week.
Ten children were among the victims. The youngest, a girl named Case Futrell, was 4 months old. Another girl, Sydnee Vargyas, was 7 months old. The oldest, a man named Hemant Bhonde, was 65.
Many of the victims died of injuries related to blunt force trauma, including to the head and chest, but among the children — seven of whom were 8 or 9 years old — the cause of death for five of them was "mechanical asphyxiation." Another was listed as "asphyxia."
Gregory Davis, a forensic pathologist at the University of Kentucky and a state medical examiner in Kentucky, explained mechanical asphyxia as dying from of an overwhelming pressure, potentially from the rubble of a collapsed building.
"You literally cannot breathe," Davis said. "You cannot move."
He said the amount of...
Portland is the largest city in the country that doesn’t have fluoridated water, and voters have resoundingly decided it’s going to remain that way.
A proposal to add the cavity-fighting mineral to tap water was defeated Tuesday, with more than 60% of voters saying no.
"We think we were able to get our message out that these fluoridation chemicals are not effective, and that they can be harmful to human health and the environment," said Rick North, who helped lead the campaign against the measure with the group Clean Water Portland.
Backers of the measure, including many dentists and doctors, said there had been no negative health impacts on millions of Americans already drinking fluoridated water. They said the mineral had helped substantially in the fight against tooth decay, especially in poor children whose families cannot afford regular dental care.
"The election may be over, but the dental crisis isn’t. Water fluoridation would have dramatically decreased decay...
MOORE, Okla.--The Moore Cemetery was full of life on Wednesday.
Hundreds of volunteers, clutching shovels, rakes and trash bags, marched down SW 4th Street to go to work in this vast, normally flat grassland where the city has buried its dead since the late 1800s.
The far south and west sides of the cemetery border what is now a disaster zone. As far as the eye can see, the ground is caked in trash and rubble left by Monday's monster tornado. Except there are keepsakes mixed in too -- a stray photograph, for example, gleaming in the sun amid jagged bits of concrete, spears of battered wood, mud and crushed grass.
A few blocks to the southwest, across the path of destruction, is what was Plaza Towers Elementary School.
The volunteers met at a community center and walked in line, carefully avoiding downed power lines on the red-mud-covered sidewalk.
It's the first opportunity many of the volunteers have had to help in the storm's wake, and they...
CENTENNIAL, Colo. — Less than a month before last summer’s Aurora movie theater massacre, suspect James E. Holmes ordered six packages from an online ammunition supplier, according to court documents unsealed Wednesday.
According to the newly released warrants and affidavits, FedEx records indicate that the six packages were ordered by Holmes on June 28 from BulkAmmo.com. It was not disclosed what was in the packages.
Holmes, 25, is accused of unleashing a rampage on July 20 in a packed movie theater. Twelve people died and at least 70 were injured in a case that has drawn worldwide attention. If convicted, he faces the death penalty.
At a preliminary hearing in January, prosecutors described Holmes as calculating and methodical in his march toward July 20. The former neuroscience student is believed to have gone on a buying spree that began in May, amassing an arsenal of weapons, ammunition, military-style combat gear and explosives.
Police have said Holmes bought a ticket...
MOORE, Okla. -- After closing shattered neighborhoods to traffic in the aftermath of Monday’s massive tornado, city officials allowed residents with proper IDs to drive to what remained of their homes Wednesday to retrieve belongings.
During a midday briefing officials said the disaster toll continued to mount:
Property damage from the storm could reach $2 billion, with 12,000 to 13,000 homes damaged or destroyed, local officials announced.
More than 33,000 people were directly affected by a tornado that tore a 17-mile-long, 1.3-mile-wide path through this Oklahoma City suburb of about 55,000 people.
Of the 24 people killed, 10 were children, including two infants and seven schoolchildren.
"The numbers of this event are becoming even more staggering,’’ Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett told reporters at Moore’s City Hall.
A few search-and-rescue crews continued to look for possible survivors – or corpses – in...
NEW YORK -- Hundreds of mourners packed a church Wednesday for the funeral of a 21-year-old university student accidentally shot by police responding to a break-in at her home, which her uncle says could have been avoided if the officer had tried to negotiate an end to the standoff.
Several of Andrea Rebello's sorority sisters from Hofstra University on Long Island spoke about their friend at the service as they and her twin sister, Jessica, fought back tears. The Journal News of Westchester County, north of New York City, said St. Teresa of Avila Church in Sleepy Hollow was filled nearly to capacity for the service, which came five days after an ex-con named Dalton Smith burst into the home the Rebello twins rented near the university.
Two other students were in the house that night. One of them called 911 when she was allowed to leave the home to get cash from a bank machine for Smith. The others, including Jessica Rebello, fled as police arrived on the scene. But Andrea was caught...
MOORE, Okla. -- As bulldozers cleared great piles of debris where homes once stood, some residents took stock of the wreckage and pondered their next decisions: move or rebuild?
For many, including those near the Plaza Towers Elementary School, where seven children died, it is hard to imagine rebuilding, or moving on.
"You sign that 30-year note thinking you'll be here for 30 years," said Willie Gouge, who returned to a house with a shredded roof and a perforated living room. "And then something like this happens. It's like nature says 'It's time to move.' "
Gouge and his wife bought their home seven years ago. But they are not yet sure if they will move back. Somebody else's Christmas lights were dangling from his awnings and somebody's lawn chair was lodged in his roof.
"Don't know where it came from," he said, looking up at the chair's legs from inside his mud-spattered kitchen as the sun peeked in. "Gave me more light than I wanted."
NEW YORK -- Former Rep. Anthony Weiner, who enjoyed online relationships with several women before he resigned his congressional seat amid a sexting scandal, might have a harder time winning female fans in his run to be New York City's next mayor.
Hours after the Democrat used a video posted on his website to announce his candidacy, a poll Wednesday showed that 52% of female respondents said they believe that he should not run for the office. Thirty-five percent said he should be a candidate, and 13% said they were undecided or didn't know, according to the Quinnipiac University poll.
Among men, 46% of respondents said they oppose Weiner's entry into the mayoral race, 43% said they support it, and 11% were undecided or didn't know.
One woman who welcomed Weiner's announcement was fellow Democrat Christine Quinn, the City Council speaker who declared her candidacy months ago and is polling well ahead of Weiner and the other Democrats who will face each...
With the president scheduled to visit Moore, Okla., over the weekend, officials of the Obama administration on Wednesday again pledged to help the city recover from the damage of Monday’s tornado no matter how long the process takes.
At a joint news conference with Gov. Mary Fallin, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said the administration will continue to work with local officials to clear debris from the storm and to help with the recovery. The tornado killed at least 24 people, 10 of whom were children. Two of the children were infants younger than a year old.
“Recovery is underway, debris removal is underway,” Napolitano said at the televised news conference. “On behalf of President Obama we will be here to stay. You have our commitment to that.”
Obama is scheduled to visit Moore on Sunday, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney announced at his televised briefing.
The president has already pledged his help, telephoning top officials...
WASHINGTON — A friend of alleged Boston Marathon bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev who was shot and killed by an FBI special agent in Orlando, Fla., early Wednesday was being questioned primarily about a 2-year-old triple homicide in Waltham, Mass., and about whether Tsarnaev played a role in those killings, officials said.
Federal law enforcement sources identified the slain man as Ibragim Todashev, 27. They said he suddenly lunged with a knife and injured the agent in a “violent confrontation” during an interview.
Todashev is a former Mixed Martial Arts fighter like Tsarnaev and was being questioned by the FBI agent, two Massachusetts State Police troopers and other law enforcement officials.
Todashev “primarily” was being asked about the Sept. 11, 2011, triple slaying in Waltham because officials believe he and Tsarnaev may have had a role in cutting the throats of three men and sprinkling marijuana over the bodies, law enforcement sources said.
They also had...
MOORE, Okla. -- Newt Case stood in his yard early Wednesday smoking a cigarette and looking over his debris-strewn yard.
At the far edge of a field across the street, a different kind of debris field remained -- the remnants of homes that were reduced to rubble by Monday's monster tornado.
Case, though, said he is one of the lucky ones. The brick house he shares with his wife, where they have lived for 30 years, was mud-splattered. And that was it. The pink roses in his yard, virtually untouched, were still in full bloom.
Wednesday brought a blue-sky morning, the kind Oklahoma brags about, with a full sun. For that, Case was grateful. The electricity, water and phone service had been restored. Even better, he said, he finally got his first good night's sleep since the tornado punched its way through Moore.
Case, 60, has been through the massive tornadoes of recent years, and he's not going anywhere. Like so many other Oklahomans, the retired mechanic remembers May 3, 1999, the day...
As an editor and reporter, Michael Muskal has covered local, national, economic and foreign issues at three newspapers, including the Los Angeles Times. @latimesmuskal
Matt Pearce, a University of Missouri graduate, has previously written for the Kansas City Star, the Los Angeles Review of Books, The New Inquiry and The Pitch. @mattdpearce