72-year-old man found alive after 19 days in forest

Published: Sunday, October 13, 2013 @ 10:49 PM
Updated: Monday, October 14, 2013 @ 9:09 AM

A 72-year-old hunter who got hurt in a Northern California forest and was lost for 19 days survived the ordeal by eating squirrels and lizards and covering himself with leaves to stay warm, authorities said Sunday.

Gene Penaflor, 72, of San Francisco, was found Saturday in Mendocino National Forest by other hunters who carried him to safety in a makeshift stretcher, the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office said in a written statement.

Penaflor had been missing since Sept. 24 when he didn't meet up with his hunting partner for lunch, sheriff's Detective Andrew Porter told the Ukiah Daily Journal (http://bit.ly/1ekjENg ).

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The two had split up for several hours to hunt deer, and during his hike, Penaflor fell and struck his head. He later told detectives he woke up disoriented amid thick fog. He walked for a time but stopped when he didn't know where he was.

Porter said Penaflor decided to spend the night near a water source to tend to a cut on his chin. The next two days, he saw a helicopter and tried to send a smoke signal but no one saw him.

He said he sustained himself on squirrels, lizards, a snake, berries and algae. To keep dry and warm from the rain and snow, he crawled under a large log and covered himself with leaves and grasses, authorities said.

He saw deer but didn't have the energy to shoot them, Porter said.

"He knew at some point he was going to die, but he figured he'd last as long as he could," the detective said.

The sheriff's office said an initial search involving several agencies was called off when a storm was on its way and there was no sign of Penaflor.

The search was reactivated Saturday, and a group of hunters found Penaflor when someone in the group heard a voice calling for help from the bottom of a canyon. He was located about 3 miles from where he had disappeared.

Penaflor's son, Jeremy, told the Daily Journal his father was in good condition after being airlifted to Ukiah Valley Medical Center. After learning that Penaflor had gone missing, his family had been staying in the town closest to his hunting camp.

"I had faith that my dad was still alive," the son said. "With the knowledge that he had, and what he knew how to do, 14 days was nothing to him. I think after 14 days, I would have freaked out."

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Lawyer: Rapist granted joint custody of boy he fathered will not seek visitation

Published: Tuesday, October 10, 2017 @ 2:16 PM

Woman’s Rapist Gets Joint Custody Of Child He Fathered In Assault

A Michigan man who sexually assaulted a 12-year-old girl in 2008, fathering her child, will not attempt to see the boy, despite being granted joint custody by a judge, the man’s lawyer said.

Barbara Yockey, a lawyer for Christopher Michael Mirasolo, told the Port Huron Times Herald that the matter is being resolved privately. The boy her client fathered is now 8 years old and being raised by his mother. 

“He’s not going to attempt to see the child, no,” Yockey said. 

Related story: Woman’s rapist gets joint custody of child he fathered in assault

The ruling over the boy’s custody garnered media attention -- and consternation from the public -- over the weekend. Those angered by the judge’s decision included Michigan’s lieutenant governor. 

“This is outrageous and unacceptable,” Lt. Gov. Brian Calley wrote on Facebook. “I will begin work immediately on remedies. This article says that this case is the first of its kind in Michigan and perhaps in the nation. We need to make sure that it is also the last of its kind -- and that the decision is overturned.”

Kent County Clerk Lisa Posthumus Lyons, a former state representative, also vowed to see that the victim and her son remained safe.

“You can bet that I will keep an eye on this situation, and if the court further denies this victim justice, I will work with the Attorney General to ensure Michigan’s law is enforced and rape victims are protected,” Lyons wrote.

Yockey said she expects that the issue will be resolved in an Oct. 25 hearing scheduled on the case. Mirasolo’s victim, now 21, sought recourse through the Rape Survivor Child Custody Act, a 2015 law that grants states more funding for victims of sexual assault if they allow courts to terminate the parental rights of rapists who father a child.

The woman’s lawyer, Rebecca Kiessling, told the Times Herald that her client is the first victim to seek protection under the new law.

Kiessling said there should be an immediate investigation into the Sanilac County Prosecutor’s Office, which initiated the custody issue. 

Prosecutors said Tuesday that the office is reviewing how it handles paternity complaints, the Times Herald reported. They disputed Kiessling’s previous claims that the judge in the case, Sanilac County Judge Gregory S. Ross, gave Mirasolo her client’s home address and ordered that his name be added to the boy’s birth certificate without her client’s consent. 

“This young woman came to the Sanilac County Prosecutor's Office and completed and signed a paternity questionnaire in which she disclosed the alleged father's name and address,” read the prosecutors’ statement, obtained by the Times Herald. “She further signed an agreement to cooperate with pursuing paternity and signed a statement authorizing the disclosure of her address.”

The Detroit News previously reported that Ross awarded joint legal custody to Mirasolo, 27, of Brown City, after a DNA test proved he was the boy’s biological father. WDIV-TV reported that Assistant Sanilac County Prosecutor Eric Scott filed a motion to establish the boy’s paternity and collect child support on his behalf. 

Mirasolo was accused of forcibly raping the victim and threatening to kill her in September 2008, when she was 12 and he was 18. She, her 13-year-old sister and a friend sneaked out of the house one night to meet a boy and the boy’s older friend.

That friend was Mirasolo, who asked the girls if they wanted to go for a ride, Kiessling told the News. 

“They thought they were going to McDonald’s or somewhere,” Kiessling told the News. “Instead, he tossed their cellphones away, drove to Detroit, where he stole gas from a station, and then drove back to Sanilac County, where he kept them captive for two days in a vacant house near a relative.”

>> Read more trending news

Mirasolo was arrested about a month after the attack. He faced 25 years to life in prison, but was given a plea deal in which he was convicted of attempted third-degree criminal sexual conduct. 

Sentenced to a year in jail, Mirasolo served just six months before being released early to care for his sick mother, the News reported

Kiessling told the Times Herald that the plea deal in her client’s case was “atrocious,” considering the victim’s pregnancy proved a sexual assault took place. 

Mirasolo also served four years in prison in a second case from 2010, in which he was convicted of sexually assaulting a second victim, who was 15 at the time of the assault. Now free on parole, he is listed as a Tier 3 offender on the Michigan State Police’s sex offender registry

The Times Herald reported that the victim in the second case reached out to Kiessling after Mirasolo’s custody issue made national headlines.

“He should have been in prison when she was raped,” Kiessling said. “It is the prosecutor’s fault that she was raped.”

The attorney, who is co-founder of the organization Hope After Rape Conception, said the case is a good example of why laws are needed that terminate a rapist’s parental rights. 

“First of all, a rape victim should not have to be tethered to her rapists for 18 years,” Kiessling, herself a child conceived through rape, told the Times Herald. “She deserves to be fully protected from her rapists, as well as the child. Secondly, we've had several women in our organization conceived in rape, and their biological rapist fathers used visits to molest them as well.

“Someone who raped is unfit to be a parent. They don’t respect basic boundaries, so they shouldn’t be a parent. You also shouldn’t be able to benefit from your crime.”

Woman’s rapist gets joint custody of child he fathered in assault

Published: Monday, October 09, 2017 @ 1:46 PM

Woman’s Rapist Gets Joint Custody Of Child He Fathered In Assault

A Michigan man who sexually assaulted a woman when she was 12 and got her pregnant has been granted joint custody of the now-8-year-old boy by a judge.

Christopher Michael Mirasolo, 27, of Brown City, was awarded joint legal custody of the boy by Sanilac County Judge Gregory S. Ross, according to the Detroit News. Ross granted him rights to the child after a DNA test proved he was the boy’s biological father.

The woman is seeking recourse through the Rape Survivor Child Custody Act. A hearing has been scheduled for Oct. 25.

Rebecca Kiessling, an attorney for the boy’s mother, told the News that Ross gave Mirasolo her client’s home address and ordered that his name be added to the boy’s birth certificate without her client’s consent. There was no hearing on the matter prior to the ruling, Kiessling said. 

“An assistant prosecutor on this, Eric Scott, told me she had granted her consent, which was a lie,” Kiessling said. “She has never been asked to do this, and certainly never signed anything.”

Kiessling said her client was also told she cannot move more than 100 miles without the prior consent of the court.

WDIV-TV reported that the case was prompted when the boy’s mother applied for state aid. At that time, Scott filed a motion to establish the boy’s paternity and collect child support on his behalf. 

Mirasolo’s attorney, Barbara Yockey, said her client had nothing to do with the motion. 

“Chris was notified of the paternity matter and an order of filiation was issued last month by the court, saying he had joint legal custody and reasonable visitation privileges,” Yockey told the News. “He never initiated this.”

The now-21-year-old mother, who was not identified by the media because she is a sexual assault victim, said the situation is “crazy.”

“They never explained anything to me,” the woman told the News. “I was receiving about $260 a month in food stamps for me and my son, and health insurance for him. I guess they were trying to see how to get some of the money back.”

She told WDIV-TV that she’s now faced with the possibility that the man who assaulted her will be allowed time with her son. 

“He was conceived out of rape, but I don’t look at that,” the woman told the television station. “He’s my child. He’s a part of me, not a part of him. I hope he never has any rights to him at all.” 

Yockey said she does not know if her client wishes to have a relationship with the boy.

>> Read more trending news

Mirasolo was accused of forcibly raping the victim and threatening to kill her in September 2008, when she was 12 and he was 18. She, her 13-year-old sister and a friend sneaked out of the house one night to meet a boy and the boy’s older friend.

That friend was Mirasolo, who asked the girls if they wanted to go for a ride, Kiessling told the News. 

“They thought they were going to McDonald’s or somewhere,” Kiessling said. “Instead, he tossed their cellphones away, drove to Detroit, where he stole gas from a station, and then drove back to Sanilac County, where he kept them captive for two days in a vacant house near a relative.”

Mirasolo was arrested about a month after the attack. He faced 25 years to life in prison, but was given a plea deal in which he was convicted of attempted third-degree criminal sexual conduct. 

Sentenced to a year in jail, Mirasolo served just six months before being released early to care for his sick mother, Kiessling told the News

“(My client) and her family (were) told first-time sex offenders weren’t sent to prison because people come out worse after they go there,” the attorney told the newspaper

Mirasolo did serve prison time in a second case from 2010, in which he was convicted of sexually assaulting a second victim between the ages of 13 and 15. Kiessling said he served four years in that case.

Mirasolo is listed as a Tier 3 offender on the Michigan State Police’s sex offender registry

Oklahoma police officer who shot, killed daughter's boyfriend found guilty of manslaughter

Published: Thursday, October 19, 2017 @ 1:12 AM

FILE - In this June 30, 2017 file photo, ex-Tulsa police officer Shannon Kepler, left, arrives with his legal team for afternoon testimony in his third trial in Tulsa, Okla. Jurors in the fourth murder trial for Kepler, a white former Oklahoma police officer, heard a 911 call Tuesday, Oct. 17, 2017 where his daughter screams to dispatchers that her father had shot her 19-year-old black boyfriend. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki, File)
Sue Ogrocki/AP
FILE - In this June 30, 2017 file photo, ex-Tulsa police officer Shannon Kepler, left, arrives with his legal team for afternoon testimony in his third trial in Tulsa, Okla. Jurors in the fourth murder trial for Kepler, a white former Oklahoma police officer, heard a 911 call Tuesday, Oct. 17, 2017 where his daughter screams to dispatchers that her father had shot her 19-year-old black boyfriend. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki, File)(Sue Ogrocki/AP)

A jury has reached a verdict in the fourth murder trial of a former Tulsa, Oklahoma, police officer.

>> Watch the news report here

After more than five hours of deliberation, the jury found Shannon Kepler guilty of manslaughter in the 2014 killing of Jeremy Lake, his daughter's boyfriend, and recommended 15 years in prison.

>> Watch reaction from the courtroom here

Kepler Trial Update

VERDICT IN: The jury has returned a guilty of manslaughter verdict in the 4th trial of former Tulsa officer Shannon Kepler. http://bit.ly/2kYON6z

Posted by FOX23 News on Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Kepler is accused of killing Lake in 2014 while off duty.

Though he was charged with first-degree murder, the jury also considered the lesser charge of manslaughter in the heat of passion.

>> Read more trending news

Three previous trials ended in mistrial.

Some members of Lake's extended family traveled over an hour to be at the trial.

While the district attorney said evidence doesn't show that Kepler needed to use deadly force to defend himself, the defense claimed the state's evidence did not show that Kepler went to Lake's home with bad intentions.

Related

U.S. judge: Immigrant in Texas must have access to abortion

Published: Wednesday, October 18, 2017 @ 11:59 PM

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton JAY JANNER / AMERICAN-STATESMAN
American-Statesman Staff
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton JAY JANNER / AMERICAN-STATESMAN(American-Statesman Staff)

A federal judge on Wednesday ordered Trump administration officials to stop blocking a pregnant 17-year-old immigrant from having an abortion while she’s being detained in Texas after crossing the Mexican border illegally.

>> Read more trending news

After a hearing in her courtroom in Washington, D.C., U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan ordered administration officials to allow the teenager, identified only as Jane Doe, to be taken to an abortion clinic “promptly and without delay.”

Without court intervention, Chutkan wrote, Doe “will suffer irreparable injury in the form of, at a minimum, increased risk to her health, and perhaps the permanent inability to obtain a desired abortion to which she is legally entitled.”

Lawyers with the American Civil Liberties Union argued that Doe’s experience is part of a larger pattern by the Office of Refugee Resettlement, which under President Donald Trump has refused to allow unaccompanied minors to receive abortions, referring them instead to crisis pregnancy centers, which counsel women against abortions, often from a religious perspective.

Wednesday’s emergency order, however, applied only to Doe, and required federal officials to ensure that she can arrive as early as Thursday at an abortion clinic closest to the government-shelter where she’s being held.

“If transportation to the nearest abortion provider requires J.D. to travel past a border patrol checkpoint, Defendants are restrained from interfering with her ability to do so and are ordered to provide any documentation necessary for her to do so,” the judge wrote in the order.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton had asked Chutkan to deny the teen access to an abortion, arguing that crossing the border illegally does not provide immigrants with broad rights protected by the U.S. Constitution.

“No federal court has ever declared that unlawfully present aliens with no substantial ties to this country have a constitutional right to abortion on demand,” Paxton said.

Paxton made the same arguments last week when the ACLU asked a California judge to intercede on the teen’s behalf. That judge, however, ruled that the request did not belong in her court, prompting the ACLU to file a second emergency request in Washington.