Police in missing tot case retrieve items from river

Maine State Police divers seeking evidence in the disappearance of Ayla Reynolds have returned to the Kennebec River where some items were recovered two weeks ago.

State police spokesman Steve McCausland says five divers and two detectives searched an overflow area Tuesday while water was lowered for maintenance on a dam owned by NextEra Energy Inc. He says several items were found and will be reviewed by the state police crime lab.

Divers were in the same area where other items were recovered two weeks ago. Those items were also taken to the crime lab.

McCausland said it’s not known whether any of the items are connected to the toddler’s disappearance in December. She was reported missing from her father’s home on Dec. 17.


Sheriff investigates theft of iPad used by autistic child

The Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the theft of an iPad that a 2-year-old autistic child uses to communicate, while the boy’s family was attending a funeral.

The burglary happened on Cedar Drive on April 28. The family was attending the funeral of the boy’s grandfather when somebody broke into the house during the daytime.

The stolen items also included an iPod that is used in conjunction with the iPad to help the boy communicate. The iPad was inscribed on the back with “Property of Bryant Lindsey,” according to the sheriff’s office.

The boy’s mother asked that the address and name be released in hopes of prompting the thieves to return the items, detectives said.

Anyone with information is asked to call Detective Brian Ackerman at 774-1444, extension 2215.


Detective bureau head promoted to commander

Police Chief Michael Sauschuck announced that Gary Rogers, now head of the detective bureau, is bring promoted to commander, the third-highest position in the department.

In addition to overseeing the detectives bureau, Rogers has led the special reaction team and a patrol team.

“Gary brings the highest ethical and professional standards to the job and I am excited to have him as a part of my executive team,” Sauschuck said.

“Gary’s diverse experience and approachable personality make him a good fit for the position,” Sauschuck said. “Few understand the department and the community as well as he does and both will benefit from his leadership.”

Rogers takes the position left vacant when Sauschuck promoted Vern Malloch to assistant chief. Sauschuck was the commander before Malloch.

Rogers was selected as part of a process that included interviews with city staff, union leadership and community leaders and an assessment panel comprising police chiefs from surrounding communities, including South Portland, Westbrook, Lewiston and representatives of the Maine State Police.

Gorham woman indicted in stabbing of her husband

A Cumberland County grand jury has indicted a Gorham woman on charges of attempted murder for allegedly stabbing her husband multiple times in the face, back and torso.

Bella Rosa Harris, 26, was arrested March 9 on a charge of aggravated assault. At the time, authorities were not sure her husband would survive.

The couple had moved to town a few months earlier, police said. Harris is listed as 5-foot-9 and weighing 120 pounds.

Her husband was hospitalized for multiple stab wounds, but did recover.

Harris was indicted on a charge of attempted murder in addition to aggravated assault and assault.

She is being held on $100,000 bail in the Cumberland County Jail.

Sanford man convicted in porn case involving infant

A Sanford man has been convicted of making and distributing child pornography involving an infant.

Federal prosecutors say Royce Breton, 32, was convicted Thursday after a four-day trial.

Prosecutors say Breton produced the pornography, then distributed it via an online messenger service. More than 300 images of child pornography were found on a computer in his home.

Sentencing was not immediately scheduled. Breton faces anywhere from 15 to 30 years in federal prison on the production charge, five to 20 years for the distribution charge and up to 10 years on the possession charge.


OOB posts signs asking no tobacco products on beach

One of Maine’s most popular beaches is asking sunbathers to snuff the cigarettes.

Old Orchard Beach has posted signs requesting beachgoers to extinguish cigarettes before hitting the beach. The signs say, in English and in French, “Please do not use tobacco products on our beach.”

The Town Council passed a resolution in November that made the beach a voluntary smoke-free zone.

Hattie Simon, one of four local students who proposed the no-tobacco policy, tells the Journal Tribune it’ll make Old Orchard a “cleaner and more family-friendly beach.”


Labor Department says it got $1.3 million by mistake

The Maine Department of Labor says it took $1.3 million that it wasn’t entitled to from the U.S. Department of Labor over a period of nearly 12 years.

Labor Commissioner Robert Winglass said he updated the governor Friday and sent a letter to federal officials to acknowledge the debt, which was uncovered by federal auditors. He says that “ineffective internal controls” masked the problems for years “but now we have to deal with it.”

Winglass said the state has requested that the federal agency waive the bulk of the money.

Gov. Paul LePage said Friday that state government continues to uncover problems from “financial systems that lack accountability, transparency and fiscal controls.” He says it’s a reminder of the importance of reforming the way the state does business.


Truck driver injured in I-95 crash that spills logs

Officials say a truck driver was hospitalized after his truck overturned on Interstate 95 in central Maine, spilling logs and shutting down traffic.

Maine State Police say Joseph Paradis, 38, of Millinocket was driving south on Interstate 95 in Burnham when his truck went into the median shortly before 2 a.m. Friday.

The truck rolled over and covered both southbound lanes, with the logs scattering into the median.

Police say the interstate was completely shut down for half an hour about 5 a.m. so the tractor could be flipped upright and removed. The trailer and the logs were removed by 9:30 a.m.

Officials say Paradis was taken by ambulance to Sebasticook Valley Hospital in Pittsfield with some facial cuts. He also said he had rib pain.


Van Buren man arrested after meth lab discovered

Drug agents say they have made an arrest after discovering a methamphetamine lab in a remote area in the Aroostook County town of Connor.

Officials said Friday that Jason Sirois, 34, of Van Buren has been charged with trafficking in methamphetamine.

Agents with the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency were investigating an April 16 incident where a garbage disposal employee had inhaled fumes from a meth lab that had been thrown away in a commercial Dumpster when they identified Sirois as a suspect.

They placed him and some of his associates under surveillance and learned that he was traveling to a remote area in Connor.

Agents said they found an active meth manufacturing operation in the area on Thursday, and arrested Sirois when he approached the site Thursday night.


Town, former manager settle discrimination suit

Officials in the town of Stonington have agreed to settle a federal discrimination lawsuit with a former town manager who accused selectmen of refusing to consider his requests for “reasonable accommodations” for an injured back.

The terms of the proposed settlement between former manager Howard Willinghan and the town are sealed and head off a trial scheduled to start next month.

A town lawyer tells the Bangor Daily News that both sides are “satisfied” with the deal, which awaits finalization.

Willinghan’s lawsuit filed in the fall of 2007 alleged selectmen forced him to resign several weeks after he had informed them about serious back problems. He claimed the town was unwilling to accommodate his disability while he sought additional treatment.


Police say teen’s second theft try wasn’t so lucky

Police say a Rumford teenager got away with stealing a bottle of rum from a supermarket the first time, but wasn’t so lucky when he returned 90 minutes later to help himself to a second bottle.

Police say Allan Hussian, 19 was seen Wednesday by store workers leaving the store with a 750 ml bottle of Captain Morgan. Police searched the area but couldn’t find the suspect.

About an hour and a half later, a store manager called police again, telling them the suspect had returned for more rum and left without paying.

This time the suspect was caught.

Hussian was charged with theft and possession of alcohol by a minor.

Police told the Sun Journal that Hussian told them he stole the booze because he was bored.


Israeli Defense officials to visit military vehicle plant

Israeli Defense Force officials plan to visit a northern Maine plant that refurbishes military vehicles as that country considers purchases.

U.S. Sen. Susan Collins of Maine says the Israelis will visit the Maine Military Authority in Limestone on Monday.

The Israelis will meet with Maine Military Authority officials and conduct a site survey as Israel considers the purchase of tactical wheeled vehicles. The outfit has refurbished more than 14,000 Humvees in the past, and it is one of several organizations competing for an Israeli Defense Force contract to provide Humvees during the next three years.

Collins, a Maine Republican, extended an invitation to Ambassador Michael Oren, Israel’s envoy to the United States, after she learned that Israel is looking to procure additional Humvees.


Officials confirm three cases of whooping cough

Maine public health officials say they have confirmed three cases of whooping cough in Skowhegan schools.

Superintendent Brent Colbry says a letter was sent home with students Thursday, alerting parents and families about the contagious disease, and warning especially those who have been in close contact with the sick students.

Whooping cough, also known as or pertussis, is a contagious respiratory disease that can cause long, violent coughing fits and the characteristic “whooping” sound.

The state epidemiologist tells the Morning Sentinel two cases were reported among older students and a third case involved a 7-year-old child. Dr. Stephen Sears says there has been in increase in cases in Maine in the past nine months.

Officials are urging people showing symptoms to seek medical attention.

— From staff and news services