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POSTED December 27, 2012 7:00 p.m.

ARREST OVER DEAD NEWBORN IN  STRAWBERRY FIELD: CAMARILLO (AP) — A Ventura County sheriff's sergeant says DNA evidence has led to the arrest of a woman believed to be the mother of a dead newborn found in a Camarillo strawberry field.

Sgt. Ian Laughlin said Thursday that 20-year-old Rosalba Cruz Moran was arrested last week on suspicion of murder.

A field worker at La Esperanza Farms found the newborn's body on May 21.

Detectives collected more than 100 DNA samples from field workers in the area that day.

Forensic scientists identified one donor as a close relative of the newborn's mother.

Laughlin says Moran was identified as the possible mother, DNA was collected from her and it confirmed that she was the dead baby's mother.

2 CHARGED IN CRASH THAT KILLED 90-YEAR-OLD WOMAN: WEST COVINA  (AP) — Los Angeles County prosecutors have filed murder charges for two drivers they say were street racing in West Covina when one of their vehicles crashed into a van and killed a 90-year-old woman.

The district attorney's office says 30-year-old Vincent Lopez and 34-year-old Victor Hugo Sanchez were each charged Thursday with one count of murder and one count of driving under the influence causing injury.

Celia La Torre of West Covina was in a wheelchair in the van Tuesday when it was hit by a car allegedly driven by Lopez. She was thrown from the van and killed. Her son, the van's driver, was injured. Lopez also was injured and remains hospitalized.

Prosecutors say the second car left the scene and Sanchez was arrested later.

 

OPENING DELAYED FOR NEW DEVIL'S SLIDE TUNNELS: MONTARA  (AP) — Completion of California's first highway tunnel project in a half-century will be delayed again as crews complete finishing touches.

The San Francisco Chronicle reports (http://bit.ly/10p56HO ) that the Devil's Slide tunnels — which will replace a segment of Highway 1 that snakes alongside the Pacific Ocean near Half Moon Bay — will not open by year's end as previously predicted.

Caltrans spokesman Bob Haus says the twin 4,200-foot tunnels are finished except for some of the operating systems, so the opening date was pushed back to early 2013.

Devil's Slide is so named because of the massive boulders sometimes fall from nearby cliffs onto the roadway during storms.

Excavation began in 2007 and has cost an estimated $439 million, more than $100 million more than originally forecast.

3 ARRESTED IN SACRAMENTO MALL LOCKDOWN: SACRAMENTO  (AP) — Three teens have been arrested in a disturbance at a Sacramento mall that caused shoppers to flee and authorities to lock stores down.

Police identified two of the teens on Thursday morning as 19-year-old Dremon O'Deal and 18-year-old Louis Santiago. The name of the third suspect — a 15-year-old — was not released because he is a juvenile.

The Sacramento Bee reports that O'Deal and Santiago are suspected of causing the disturbance at Arden Fair Mall late Wednesday afternoon. Police say a group of at least 20 juveniles were seen running through the mall knocking over signs and pushing shoppers.

Reports of a shooting and a person armed with a gun were quickly determined to be untrue. But shoppers fled, and the mall was briefly locked down.

GOOD SAMARITAN FINDS RING ON SNOWY FREEWAY: KINGVALE  (AP) — Finding a lost wedding ring along a snowy highway is hard enough. But a Good Samaritan in Northern California also has to track down the man it belongs to.

Douglas Benedetti says he met the man but doesn't know his name or phone number.

Benedetti says the man was searching for the ring on the shoulder of Interstate 80 near Kingvale in the Sierra earlier this month. He told Benedetti he'd lost the ring while putting chains on his vehicle.

Benedetti, who installs chains for people on the highway, decided to return to the area hours after the man left. After a little less than an hour of searching, he came across the ring in the snow next to a semi-truck.

Benedetti wants to return the ring. But all he has to go on is its inscription: "Lisa, 5th June, 2010."

FRESNO HOMELESS LAWSUIT SURVIVES LEGAL CHALLENGE: FRESNO (AP) — A federal judge says homeless people in Fresno can go ahead with a lawsuit that claims the city destroyed their belongings in a cleanup of a homeless camp and endangered them by destroying shelters as winter neared last year.

A ruling issued Wednesday struck down some portions of the lawsuit but allowed the core of the case to proceed.

The suit, filed on behalf of several homeless people, claims the city violated terms of a 2008 federal court settlement over cleanup sweeps.

Fresno's interim city attorney, Francine Kanne, says she hasn't had a chance to analyze the ruling.

Fresno settled a similar 2006 lawsuit for $2.3 million.

LAWYER ADDRESSES CHARGES AGAINST SAC MAYOR'S AIDE : SACRAMENTO (AP) — The attorney for a former Sacramento mayor's aide accused of misusing her city-issued credit card says some of the charges on the card appear routine and others may have ended up there by mistake.

William Portanova made the comments on Wednesday after his client, 40-year-old Lisa Serna-Mayorga, made her first court appearance on charges of misappropriating public funds, grand theft, forgery and writing bad checks. She did not enter a plea.

Serna-Mayorga is accused of improperly charging about $19,000 on the credit card between July 2009 and June 2012, including a trip to Disneyland, restaurant bills and hundreds of iTunes purchases.

Portanova said the restaurant charges appear to be routine. The larger purchases may have wound up on the card by mistake.

Serna-Mayorga served as office manager to Mayor Kevin Johnson and the Sacramento City Council. She resigned in July.

 

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