tampabay.com

Ohio woman disappears on cruise

Compiled from Times wires
Published September 12, 2006


FORT LAUDERDALE - A 36-year-old Ohio woman on a cruise to Key West and Mexico disappeared from the Carnival Cruise Lines ship Imagination as it crossed the Gulf of Mexico, authorities said Monday.

"We do not suspect foul play," FBI spokeswoman Judy Orihuela said.

In a statement, Carnival said the unidentified woman had been traveling with family members, who last saw her in her room at 1:30 a.m. Sunday, several hours after the ship had sailed from Calica, Mexico. She wasn't reported missing until the ship docked at the Port of Miami on Monday morning.

Man sentenced to 23 years in prison in deadly human smuggling attempt

HOUSTON - A man convicted of participating in the nation's deadliest human smuggling attempt was sentenced Monday to more than 23 years in prison.

Victor Sanchez Rodriguez was convicted in February on 18 counts of smuggling. The case stems from the 2003 deaths of 19 undocumented immigrants who were crammed into an airtight semitrailer found abandoned in Victoria. Fourteen people have been indicted.

The truck driver, Tyrone Williams, is scheduled to receive a new trial next month. Some of the counts against him carry a possible death sentence.

Elsewhere ...

Ozark churches: New charges were filed against a pastor on Monday amid the expansion of an investigation into allegations that leaders of two reclusive church communes in Missouri sexually abused girls. George Otis Johnston, 63, was charged with nine counts of felony statutory sodomy, in addition to nine earlier charges of molesting a girl from his church. He is one of five people charged with sexually abusing girls at two affiliated church compounds in neighboring Newton and McDonald counties. All five have pleaded not guilty.

Detroit schools: Thousands of striking Detroit teachers defied a judge's order to return to work Monday as school officials and the union resumed contract talks in the two-week dispute. About 7,000 teachers have been involved in the walkout, which began Aug. 28 after teachers rejected a two-year contract that would have cut pay 5.5 percent and increased co-payments for health care. Superintendent William Coleman said schools will be closed indefinitely.

Living wage: Chicago Mayor Richard Daley vetoed an ordinance Monday that would have required huge retailers to pay their workers higher wages. Supporters said the measure would guarantee employees a "living wage," but in a letter to City Council members released Monday, Daley said the ordinance would drive businesses from Chicago.