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State news briefs
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PREGNANT TEEN HELD 9 DAYS, BEATEN BY BOYFRIEND: CERES  (AP) — Police say a pregnant teenager was held captive nine days in a California home, where she was bound with tape and beaten by a jealous boyfriend.

Investigators say the 18-year-old victim was allowed to leave the San Joaquin Valley home on Saturday and she called police.

She says 21-year-old Richard Garibay became enraged when he found a text message from another man on her cellphone.

Investigators say Garibay beat her and used tape to bind her arms and legs while threatening her with a handgun in the Ceres home south of Modesto.

Police say Garibay's friend, 20-year-old Armando Osegueda, helped restrain the pregnant teenager.

MODESTO BABYSITTER ACCUSED OF KILLING TODDLER: MODESTO . (AP) — A Modesto woman is under arrest on suspicion of murdering a toddler who was under her care.

Thirty-one-year-old Maria Elena Torres was taken into custody Wednesday night, a day after the child died.

Police say Torres was babysitting 18-month-old Alexandra Medina-Cisneros in her apartment Tuesday afternoon when the child stopped breathing. Torres carried the girl back to her mother's house down the street before calling 911.

Torres initially told officers that Alexandra accidentally fell down the stairs. Police say her story was not consistent with the child's injuries.

KCRA-TV interviewed one neighbor who said he saw the child fall down the stairs.

MARIN CO. PROBES 2 CASES OF RARE BRAIN DISEASE: NOVATO  (AP) — Marin County public health officials are investigating two recent cases of an extremely rare brain disease diagnosed in local residents.

Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease is a neurological disorder that causes rapid dementia, with patients eventually falling into a coma and dying. It affects one in a million people.

A variant form is commonly known as mad cow disease, contracted by eating meat from an infected animal.

The Marin Independent Journal reports that one of the Marin patients, 59-year-old Aline Shaw, died on Jan. 27.

The county's interim public health officer, Dr. Craig Lindquist, says it's still unclear whether the patients have the variant or non-variant form of the disease. The non-variant form is caused by genetic mutation or contamination from a medical procedure.

Lindquist says right now there's no reason to believe the cases are linked.

INMATES INJURED DURING SAN QUENTIN PRISON RIOT: SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — At least four San Quentin State Prison inmates were seriously injured Thursday during a riot in an exercise yard that serves the infamous institution's newest arrivals, a prison spokesman said.

Between 150 and 200 prisoners were involved in the morning riot. Dozens were slashed and stabbed by fellow inmates armed with homemade weapons before guards used chemicals such as pepper spray, projectiles and live ammunition to restore order, Sgt. Gabe Walters said.

Most of the injured inmates were treated at the prison. The four who were most seriously injured were taken to hospitals with injuries that were not considered life-threatening, Walters said. It was unknown if they were hurt by other inmates or by guards.


NECKLACE FLUSHED DOWN TOILET RETURNED MONTHS LATER: SAN RAFAEL  (AP) — A California woman has her gold necklace back months after she accidentally flushed it down her toilet.

San Rafael sanitation district employees were performing routine cleaning work on a pipeline last month when they came across Ann Aulakh's necklace.

Aulakh's friend had left a message with the district after the chain was lost.

Sewer Maintenance Supervisor Kris Ozaki said workers remembered the message and used it to trace the necklace back to Aulakh.

A worker dropped it off at her home.

The necklace was a gift from her husband on their first Christmas together in 1993. She said she was convinced it was gone for good after she inadvertently flushed it down the toilet in October.

WIFE OF WOUNDED CA CUSTOMS AGENT LINKED TO SUSPECT: NEWARK . (AP) — A suspect in the shooting of a customs agent taught at the same school for aspiring opticians that the victim's wife graduated from less than a year ago, according to the school's owner.

The wife of victim Robert Suplik met suspect Dennis Bagwell while she was completing a four-month program, Daniel Ross, the owner of Bay Area Optical Schools in Union City. Ross, however, said he had no reason to believe the three were involved in a love triangle and had no idea what led to the shooting.

Police haven't established a motive for the attack.

"I have an idea and we have theories, but we don't know why it occurred," Newark police Sgt. Mike Carroll told the newspaper.

Bagwell, 61, was arraigned Thursday but did not enter a plea to charges of attempted murder and assault with a deadly weapon, according to the Fremont Argus . The hearing came two days after authorities say he shot and wounded the agent outside Suplik's home in Newark,

Suplik, a U.S. Customs and Border Protection agent assigned to San Francisco International Airport, was taken to Eden Medical Center in Castro Valley. His condition was "very serious," Newark Police Cmdr. Tom Milner told The Associated Press

FRESNO SCHOOL NAMED FOR HMONG LEADER VANG PAO: FRESNO  (AP) — A new Fresno elementary school will be named in honor of the late Hmong leader Gen. Vang Pao.

Fresno Unified School District trustees approved the name for the new school in Southeast Fresno at their meeting Wednesday night.

The Laotian general inspired an unparalleled reverence among the ethnic Hmong he led during the Vietnam War and later helped to resettle throughout the United States. He died last year at age 81 in central California after battling pneumonia.

Members of Hmong community packed the district's meeting to support naming the school for Vang Pao and spoke of his work building schools and sending teachers to educate children in rural Laos.

CAR THEFT SUSPECT HELD AFTER LA ROOF STANDOFF: LOS ANGELES (AP) — A suspect in an auto theft was arrested Thursday after a bizarre five-hour standoff on the rooftops of a Westwood neighborhood.

Police SWAT members finally climbed the roof of a home and peppered the man with bean-bag ammunition.

That persuaded him to scramble over to a truck-mounted ramp, and he was lowered to the ground and handcuffed, Officer Karen Rayner said. The suspect's name was not immediately released.

No one was seriously injured during the confrontation, which began around 8 a.m. when police began following a reportedly stolen Toyota Camry.

After a short chase, the driver stopped, ran and climbed onto a roof a block east of the University of California, Los Angeles, police said.

The standoff was broadcast live throughout the morning from a KTTV-TV news helicopter that showed the man hopping from rooftop to rooftop of several homes as police flooded the neighborhood.

No homes were evacuated. Police surrounded the home, and crisis negotiators made unsuccessful efforts to get the man to come down.

The suspect attempted to climb down a tree several times but returned to second-floor rooftops when he spotted officers nearby.