San Marco Properties
Geer Services, Inc.
Geer Services, Inc.
Underwoods
Claude Nolan
Geer Services, Inc.
Charles Parish
Geer Services, Inc.
Jun 012013
 

ABC News(OKLAHOMA CITY) — The body of a 4-year-old girl was recovered after she was swept away by the rising floodwaters in the wake of tornadoes that ravaged the Oklahoma City area, but what happened to the rest of her family is unknown, police said today.

The young girl and her family took shelter from the barrage of tornadoes that touched down Friday night in a ditch three miles south of downtown Oklahoma City, Oklahoma City Police Department spokesman Lt. Jay Barnett told ABC News.

“They were seeking shelter from the storm and got caught up in it somehow,” Barnett said. “She was trapped by the fast-rising waters associated with the storm and got swept away.”

Barnett said it is believed she hid out with family members who may have included a 21-year-old adult male, as well as her 4-year-old, 3-year-old, and 5-month-old relatives.

Barnett could not confirm whether the girl was included in the nine deaths listed by the Oklahoma Medical Examiner’s Office.

The whereabouts of the child’s family are still unclear, Barnett said.

“Until we actually recover additional bodies and are able to speak with available witnesses, we can’t say for certain what happened,” Barnett said. “We can also hold out some hope that not all of them were swept away, that not all perished.”

Barnett could not comment on where the girl’s body was found, saying it was part of an ongoing investigation.

A mother and her baby were also killed after they were sucked out of their car during the tornadoes.

The storm, which included an estimated five twisters, left others huddled and crying in walk-in freezers, smashed and flipped cars and trucks, and turned roads into rivers.

The woman and her infant were in a vehicle on Interstate 40 when the storm struck during rush hour. They were just miles from the city of Moore, Okla., which was devastated by a massive tornado that killed 24 people on May 20, said Betsy Randolph, spokeswoman for the Oklahoma Highway Patrol.

“A mother and baby lost their lives out here tonight,” Randolph said. “They were swept up in the storm… (They were) traveling on the interstate and their car was sucked up into the tornado and they were sucked out of their vehicle and thrown from their vehicle.

“We know that the storm picked them up and swept them away. When the troopers found them, they were both deceased,” the officer added.

They were not immediately identified.

Randolph described a nightmarish situation on the interstate.

“The sky was black, there was debris flying through the air,” she told ABC News. She said there was heavy rain and hail the size of “softballs” that was hitting people as they escaped from cars that were colliding and being sent airborne by the storm.

“It was absolute chaos with all the crashes and vehicles flying through the air,” she said.

Randolph compared the damage along Highway 40 to a parking lot strewn with wrecked cars and said there were not enough troopers to respond to each accident.

Hail, flood waters and downed power lines made it difficult for police and emergency crews to access the area, Randolph said.

“I cannot stress to you just how important it is that if people don’t have to be out, that they stay inside and seek shelter,” she said.

Beverly Allam, 57, was trying to leave her home and head south to outrun the storm, but got trapped in what she called “a mass exodus” as other motorists also tried to flee.

She was at Highway 9, 10 miles from I-40, but the winds were strong enough to push her van into a different lane and make her fear that the van would tip over. She was with her daughter Helema, 16, and son Mohamed, 33. They fled for shelter into a Sinclair gas station and took shelter with 50 other strangers in the station freezer.

In the freezer there were a few people freaking out crying with their pets, she said. There were some comforting others, and a few just trying to keep things light with jokes.

This storm particularly scared her and she has lived in Oklahoma her whole life. She describes the sky as pitch black and said she was able to see power surges and flashes in the sky.

“You just try to make a run for it and get away,” Allam said.

She was particularly scared because she has never been without a shelter in storm situations, “the only way to survive theses storms,” she said.

When they emerged from the freezer, Allam saw that her car windshield had been shattered by the hail and the lot was littered with glass and huge balls of hail. On her way home after the worst had passed “the roads were like rivers,” Allam said.

Addie Pendarvis was working at a Sonic, a drive-in diner, when the tornado emergency went into effect.

“When my bosses called me, I had to get everyone and put them in the walk-ins until I got the call to get everybody out that it had passed us,” she said.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Oct 112012
 

The Ridgeway Family(ARVADA, Colo.) — The investigation into the disappearance of 10-year-old Jessica Ridgeway took a grisly turn Thursday when police said that a body found during their search for Jessica is “not intact.”

The condition of the body is delaying identification.

“It’s not intact,” Westminster Police Department spokesman Trevor Materasso said at a news conference Thursday. “This is extending the length of time it’s taking for investigators to positively identify who that body is.”

The body was found in an Arvada, Colo., park a few miles from where Ridgeway disappeared last week.

“We’ve released the information and contacted the family to let them know this information is being released publicly,” Materasso said, seeming to refer to the revelation that the body was dismembered.

Police haven’t officially tied the crime scene at the Pattridge Park open space in Arvada to the missing girl. But investigators have reasons to believe it is the body of the girl who vanished Friday on her walk to school, stressing that a positive identification will take time, according to three sources.

Materasso said authorities expect to have a news conference on Friday to release more information.

Police worked overnight under the floodlights of a fire truck as the body was carried out after dark on a stretcher. The body was found about seven miles from Jessica’s home and close to where her backpack was discovered.

Police were alerted to the body hours after they said that Jessica’s parents were not suspects in her disappearance and they believed she had been abducted. Police say they still don’t have any suspects.

“At this point in the investigation, after thoroughly looking at the parents, we’re confident that they’re not involved in the disappearance of Jessica Ridgeway,” Materasso said on Wednesday. “The focus shifts to an unknown suspect, as we think that she was abducted.”

Surrounded by 10 family members, including Jessica’s father, Jeremiah Bryant, Jessica’s mom, Sarah Ridgeway, said early Wednesday, “I know I didn’t do anything. Everybody that’s here knows I didn’t do anything. Nobody in this room did anything to harm her or a tiny hair on her little head.”

Bryant lives out of state and was in a custody battle with Sarah Ridgeway.

Ridgeway told police she last saw her daughter in Westminster, Colo., Friday morning when Jessica left for school. The fifth-grader never showed up at a nearby park where she was supposed to meet friends for the one-mile walk to her elementary school. It was a route she took every day, but this time she never arrived.

The school called to report Jessica absent, but Sarah Ridgeway told police she was asleep during the day because she works overnights and did not get the call until eight hours later, when she called police.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Aug 272012
 

Goodshoot RF/Thinkstock(GAINESVILLE, Ga.) — Police are using tweets about a “stalker” to investigate the homicide of a girl who had been missing for a day in North Georgia.

Hannah Truelove, 16, was found dead Friday in a wooded area near the apartment she shared with her mother, one day after she was reported missing, police said.

A resident of the complex discovered the teen’s body, which showed signs of trauma, said Sgt. Kiley Sargent, spokesman for the Hall County Sheriff’s Office.

An autopsy has been completed but detectives are withholding the cause of death to avoid compromising the investigation, Sargent said.

Hannah tweeted days before her disappearance that she was being stalked.

“I got me an uglya– stalker,” she tweeted Aug. 12.

“So scared right now,” she wrote Aug. 18.

“I need to move out of these dang apartments,” she wrote Aug. 22, the day before she disappeared.

Sargent said investigators are “looking at different avenues,” including whether someone had been stalking Hannah.

“We have to determine what she meant by stalker,” Sargent said. “A stalker to a 16-year-old might not be a stalker to what may be Georgia code official. We’re trying to determine what she meant by that.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio