Intelligencer Journal/Lancaster New Era
Alabama hostage standoff continues Kerry is new secretary of state Gold stolen after hoarder dies Murderer mistakenly set free
MIDLAND CITY, Ala. -- After four anxious days, only the slimmest of details has come to light in a police standoff with an Alabama man who is accused of holding a 5-year-old boy hostage in a bunker, a sign of just how delicate the negotiations are.
Police have used a ventilation pipe in the underground bunker to talk to the man and deliver the boy medication for his emotional disorders, but they have not revealed how often they are in touch or what the conversations have been about. And authorities waited until Friday -- four days after the siege began -- to confirm what so many in this age of instant communication already knew: The man accused of killing a school bus driver and abducting the boy Tuesday was 65-year-old Jimmy Lee Dykes, a Vietnam-era veteran who was known to neighbors as a menacing figure.
While much of what is going on inside the bunker remains a mystery, local officials who have spoken to police or the boy's family have described a small room with food, electricity and a TV. And while the boy has his medication, an official also said he has been crying for his parents.
WASHINGTON -- Hillary Rodham Clinton formally resigned Friday as America's secretary of state, capping a four-year tenure that saw her shatter records for the number of countries visited. John Kerry was sworn in to replace her.
In a letter sent to President Barack Obama shortly before she left the State Department for the last time in her official capacity, Clinton thanked her former opponent for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination for the opportunity to serve in his administration. Clinton said it had been an honor to be part of his Cabinet.
Her resignation became effective at 4 p.m., when Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan swore in John Kerry as the top U.S. diplomat. The former Massachusetts senator and 2004 presidential candidate is the 68th secretary of state.
ALBURGH, Vt. -- It took months for anyone to discover that an eccentric man known simply as Radkin had died, crushed under a tractor-pulled horse trailer on his property on the shores of Lake Champlain in northern Vermont. But it didn't take long for looters to ransack the hoarder's dilapidated house, police say, hauling off antiques, a vehicle, scrap metal and more than $200,000 in gold coins.
Four people, including at least one who police suspect knew the 66-year-old Radkin, are facing charges of stealing the coins and cashing them in at coin and jewelry stores. Police expect to make more arrests.
CHICAGO -- Authorities searched Friday for a convicted murderer from Indiana who was mistakenly released after a Chicago court appearance, as officials in Illinois admitted they lost paperwork directing them to return him to Indiana.
It turned out Steven L. Robbins didn't even need to be brought to Chicago in the first place, and Cook County officials on Friday also pointed fingers over who was responsible for that mistake.
Robbins, 44, was serving a 60-year sentence for murder in Indiana and was escorted by Cook County sheriff's deputies to Chicago this week for a court appearance in a separate case involving drug and armed violence charges -- a case that had actually been dismissed in 2007.