OMAHA, Neb. (AP) – A prosecutor has filed charges against five staffers accused of abusing developmentally disabled residents of the Beatrice State Development Center. Gage County Attorney Roger Harris announced Monday that he has filed charges ranging from abuse of a vulnerable adult to theft and strangulation against the five staffers, identified as Cameron Barnes, Matthew Johnson, Carmen Yates, Cody Creek and Matthew Pangborn. All of the charges are felonies. The charges come more than a month after a center staffer called Nebraska Adult Protective Services to report the abuse. A subsequent investigation by the Nebraska State Patrol and the center says those staffers charged often hit, slapped and choked developmentally disabled residents.
FORT ROBINSON STATE PARK, Neb. (AP) – Fort Robinson State Park in northwest Nebraska will again hold its annual historical Christmas dinner. The dinner will be held Dec. 3, featuring the menu of the original Fort Robinson Christmas dinner in 1946. The menu includes roast turkey with cranberry sauce, oyster stew, giblet gravy, snowflake potatoes and candied sweet potatoes. The spread will also feature buttered asparagus, green peas, shrimp salad with French dressing, hot rolls and three types of dessert. Guests are encouraged to dress in 1946 attire. Tickets will go on sale Nov. 7. All 200 tickets are expected to sell quickly, and ticket sales will be limited to four per family. They will be sold at the park office, Chadron Chamber of Commerce and Rea’s Market in Harrison.
LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) – The Nebraska State Patrol says three separate traffic stops on Interstate 80 led to arrests and the seizure of nearly 70 pounds of marijuana. A trooper stopped a car Sunday morning near Odessa for speeding, and a search turned up 50 pounds of boxed marijuana in the car’s trunk. A 20-year-old man from Ellicott City, Md., was arrested. On Saturday night, a trooper making another stop near Odessa spotted marijuana in the sport utility vehicle’s passenger seat. A search turned up another two pounds, and the 24-year-old Littleton, Colo., driver was arrested. Another stop Saturday morning near Gretna led to the seizure of 16 pounds of marijuana in boxes wrapped as wedding gifts. The 54-year-old Antelope, Calif., driver was arrested.
AUBURN, Neb. (AP) – Family and friends of a missing Peru State College student have resumed the search for her body. Nineteen-year-old Tyler “Ty” Thomas, of Bellevue, was last seen in early December. Investigators had focused their efforts on a stretch of the Missouri River near a Peru boat dock, but flooding this summer suspended the search. Volunteers resumed the search on Sunday. Authorities suspect Joshua Keadle, a former Peru State student originally from Swansea, S.C., in Thomas’ disappearance. Police have accused him of providing false information and tampering with evidence in the case but no charges have been filed against him in the case. Keadle has been charged in two separate sexual assaults in Nebraska.
HARRISON, Neb. (AP) – A western Nebraska man accused of killing his 8-year-old stepdaughter is expected to appear in court this week. An arraignment for 32-year-old Salvador Lopez, of Mitchell, is scheduled for Tuesday morning in Sioux County District Court. Lopez is charged with first-degree murder in the death of Kerra Wilson, whose body was found Sept. 22 on remote ranchland several miles north of their home. A Nebraska State Patrol investigator says in court documents that Lopez acknowledged killing his stepdaughter. Lopez is being held in the Dawes County jail. Court records don’t list his attorney. Police spent two days searching for the girl. Salvador Lopez had said he dropped her off at school but she did not appear in any of the surveillance footage shot in the school or on the playground.
YORK, Neb. (AP) – A 38-year-old York woman has been arrested, accused of fraud in obtaining a prescription painkiller. Jeannie Linder has been charged with intentional violation of a narcotic drug law. That’s a felony that carries a maximum prison sentence of five years. York police investigators say that among other ruses, Linder altered a prescription form so that she could use it at different pharmacies. Linder is due back in court on Monday. Her attorney didn’t immediately return a call Friday from The Associated Press.
OMAHA, Neb. (AP) – U.S. and state flags in Omaha have been flying at half-staff for a Navy SEAL who grew up in the city and was killed during a combat patrol in Afghanistan. Twenty-six-year-old Petty Officer 1st Class Caleb Nelson died on Oct.1. The Department of Defense says his vehicle as hit by an explosive device in Zabul province. His funeral was held Thursday morning at Christ Community Church in Omaha. Nelson had been assigned to the Naval Special Warfare Group based in Norfolk, Va., since his graduation from SEAL training in 2006. Nelson is survived by his wife and two sons in Virginia, and his parents, who live in Omaha.
LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) – Nebraska Department of Insurance Director Bruce Ramge says officials aren’t ready to decide whether to adopt a state-based health insurance exchange, a federal model or another option offered under the new national health care law. Ramge says officials still don’t know key details or the exact cost of a federal health care exchange, compared to one created by the state. State officials can choose to adopt a state, regional or federal exchange, or a federal-state partnership in which the federal government runs certain aspects, such as electronic record-keeping, while the state handles customer service or other tasks. Enacting a state exchange would require legislation. Ramge says officials are also heeding Gov. Dave Heineman’s preference to wait until the U.S. Supreme Court rules on the health care law.
AUBURN, Neb. (AP) – Family and friends of missing 19-year-old Peru State College student Ty Thomas are renewing their efforts to find her body. Thomas, of Bellevue, was last seen in early December. Investigators had focused their efforts on a stretch of the Missouri River near a Peru boat dock, but flooding this summer suspended the search. Authorities suspect Joshua Keadle, a former Peru State student originally from Swansea, S.C., in Thomas’ disappearance. Police have accused him of providing false information and tampering with evidence in the case, but no charges have been filed against him in Thomas case. Keadle has been charged in two separate sexual assaults in Nebraska. Thomas’ family and friends will renew the search for Thomas this weekend.
OMAHA, Neb. (AP) – A Nebraska man who had been serving a life sentence for kidnapping a teenager who was later killed could be out of prison within a year. Thirty-six-year-old Jeremy Herman was convicted of kidnapping for his role in the 1992 murder of Jeremy Drake. Herman was 17 when he and another teen kidnapped Drake. Herman’s accomplice, Christopher Masters, was convicted of killing Drake. Herman pleaded guilty to kidnapping on the advice of his attorney, who didn’t know that the conviction carried a life sentence. A judge subsequently vacated Herman’s sentence because of the poor legal advice, and Herman was re-sentenced on Wednesday to 39-to-40 years. Herman’s new attorney, Tom Riley, says that because Herman has served 19 years, he’s eligible for parole in six months and mandatory release in a year.