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  • A Maryland man is accused of driving his girlfriend, who had mental and physical disabilities, into the desert outside Las Vegas and suffocating her before returning home to his wife -- and pretending to be the dead woman via text and Facebook so her family would not suspect anything was wrong, authorities say.   Bethel Park, Pennsylvania police officials on Friday charged John Matthew Chapman, 39, of Oakland, with kidnapping, obstruction and criminal use of a communication facility in the disappearance of Jaime Rae Feden, who was last seen by loved ones Sept. 15. According to Allegheny County court records, he is being held in the county jail without bail. A body matching the description of the 33-year-old Bethel Park woman, who was reported missing Thursday by her family and friends, was found Oct. 5 in the Nevada desert, according to WPXI in Pittsburgh. Officials in Clark County, Nevada later positively identified Feden on Nov. 21 through dental records. “She was a very loving type of person and I think she was taken advantage of by someone who was a predator,” Bethel Park police Chief Timothy O’Connor told a WPXI reporter. Chapman was silent as he was led out of the Bethel Park Police Department in handcuffs Friday. When questioned by reporters, he just shook his head and stared straight ahead at the ground. >> Read more trending news  No homicide charges had been filed against Chapman as of Monday afternoon. O’Connor said if a murder charge is levied against the suspect, it would be done by authorities in Nevada because that is where he is accused of killing Feden. The body believed to belong to Feden was found about an hour north of Las Vegas, in Lincoln County, according to officials there. The remains were taken to the Clark County Coroner’s Office for autopsy and identification. Chapman’s stunned wife, Maureen Chapman, spoke to WPXI from her Maryland home about learning of her husband’s arrest. She said she was clueless about his apparent double life until he called her around 6 a.m. Friday from the Bethel Park Police Department. Maureen Chapman said her husband, to whom she’s been married less than a year, admitted in that phone call that he killed Feden. “I killed her because I had to,” John Chapman said, according to Maureen Chapman. She told the news station her husband had told her in September that his trip to Las Vegas, which was made in her truck, was for work. The truck has been seized as evidence, WPXI reported. “Oh, my God, it’s sick. It’s really sick,' Maureen Chapman said. “I just want the truth as to what happened. I feel I’m owed that.” Zip ties, duct tape and a photo shoot  A criminal complaint obtained by the news station alleges that John Chapman met Feden at a school for students with special needs. It was not immediately clear what special needs he has. A longtime friend of Feden’s, Nikki Lawrence, told Buzzfeed News that Feden, who has VATER syndrome, met John Chapman in 2009 and the pair had dated on and off since then. VATER syndrome is a condition that occurs when a baby is born with a series of birth defects in a number of areas, with the letters VATER standing for vertebrae, anus, trachea, esophagus and renal, or kidneys. Children diagnosed with the syndrome have defects in at least three of the areas impacted, according to Cincinnati Children’s. The condition is found in one out of every 10,000 to 40,000 births. Lawrence told Buzzfeed News the condition resulted in Feden having an extremely short stature. A missing person flier from the Bethel Park Police Department describes Feden as 4 feet, 1 inch tall and weighing 75 pounds. According to court records, the body found in Nevada appeared to share many of the physical traits attributed to Feden due to her VATER syndrome. An entry in the database of the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System, or NamUs, also indicated the body’s height was measured at 3 feet, 9 inches. When found, the decomposing remains weighed just 49 pounds, despite being those of an adult female. The body also bore tattoos of the names Keith, Robin and Jason, along with a four-leaf clover, on the lower right leg, the NamUs entry said. Lawrence told BuzzFeed News that Feden has an identical tattoo -- the names are of her uncle, Keith, her brother, Jason, and her mother, Robin, who died when Feden was young. John Chapman’s family told investigators he would often stay at Feden’s townhouse in Bethel Park, WPXI reported. The station’s report did not say if his family knew the nature of their relationship, which Feden’s family and friends described to police as “tumultuous.” Maureen Chapman told the station her husband would tell her he was visiting family in Bethel Park, which is just outside of Pittsburgh, whenever he would go there. Bethel Park is about two hours from Oakland, which court records list as John Chapman’s city of residence. John Chapman told his wife he was visiting an aunt and uncle in Bethel Park just prior to his trip to Las Vegas, she said. According to the criminal complaint, John Chapman told detectives investigating Feden’s disappearance that he persuaded her to make the 2,200-mile trip to Vegas with him in late September to look at potential homes in the area. They arrived in Las Vegas on Sept. 23, according to a timeline put together by WPXI. John Chapman told police he lured Feden out to the desert Sept. 25 with the promise of a photo shoot, the court documents state. According to KSNV in Las Vegas, the photo shoot was to have a sadomasochistic tilt -- including bondage -- which allowed him to restrain an unsuspecting Feden. Once Feden was tied up, he killed her, Chapman told authorities, according to the court documents. “The suspect bound the victim’s hands and feet with plastic zip ties, and affixed her to a signpost,” the complaint alleges. “He then applied duct tape to her mouth, and then to her nose, until such a time that she was unable to breathe.” John Chapman told investigators he removed the tape and zip ties, as well as Feden’s clothes, after she was dead and left her lifeless body near the signpost, authorities allege. Lincoln County Sheriff Kerry Lee told the Nevada news station that the suspect’s statement to police appears to correspond to a passing motorist’s gruesome find 10 days later along Kane Springs Road. “Just before he got to (US) Highway 93, he stopped to let his dogs out and discovered the nude body of an adult female,” Lee told KSNV. “Of course, officers responded to the scene. We processed what little scene we had. We figured she’d been there a little more than a week.” A ‘tumultuous’ relationship  After returning to Pennsylvania, John Chapman allegedly used Feden’s cellphone to send Facebook messages to her uncle, identified by police as Keith Lewis, so her family would not get suspicious, WPXI reported. Lewis told investigators, however, that the person sending the messages incorrectly answered questions to which Feden would have known the answers. Bethel Park police officers went to Feden’s townhouse just before 7 p.m. Thursday and found no one home, the criminal complaint says. They met with a friend of Feden’s, and a cousin of Feden’s, both of whom were concerned after having had no contact with her for an extended time period. Neighbors also told Feden’s family they were worried because they had not seen or heard from her in some time. The neighbors reported seeing John Chapman at the townhouse the day before, the documents say. “All parties were concerned for the victim’s safety due to a tumultuous past with Chapman,” the criminal complaint states. Lewis, who has legal control over Feden’s finances due to her disabilities, gave officers permission to force entry into the townhouse, where they found Feden’s backpack. Inside the bag was Feden’s cellphone, along with a roll of duct tape and plastic zip ties, the court documents say. When initially questioned, John Chapman gave police false information about the case, WPXI reported. Authorities allege he ultimately broke down and confessed to killing Feden. “I can’t believe it. I can’t process it,” Maureen Chapman told WPXI. “I have no idea why he would do anything like that.” John Chapman’s Facebook page describes him as a single ADT installation technician who lives in Pittsburgh. It lists Maureen Chapman as his sister. Maureen Chapman’s Facebook profile also lists her as single and living in Pittsburgh. John Chapman commented on her most recent profile photo, which appears to have been uploaded Aug. 27. “Looking good, sis,” he wrote. “Thanks,” she replied. ‘She just wanted him to love her’  Lawrence also got text messages that appeared to come from Feden multiple times in October. She posted the messages on her Facebook page Saturday evening. “It’s making me sick now, knowing that this was him texting me the whole time,” Lawrence wrote. In an exchange dated Oct. 1, Lawrence asked Feden if she and John Chapman had broken up. “Yeah, but we are still friends,” the text from Feden’s cellphone read. When Lawrence asks what happened, the response was that “apparently (Feden) was too clingy and he couldn’t take it.” “Thinking back, maybe I was and I did try to not be, but it’s hard when I care so much,” the response continued. In an Oct. 17 text to Feden, Lawrence asked when Chapman’s birthday is. The response, two days later, called it an odd question. “Have you tried asking him? Maybe try getting to know him?” Feden appeared to write. The texter purporting to be Feden claimed she didn’t know John Chapman’s birthday because she didn’t feel like he was “the one.” The person then alluded to Chapman’s “rough history,” but said Feden never felt unsafe around him. Lawrence told Buzzfeed News that she’d asked about John Chapman’s birthday because she wanted to use the information to look up his criminal history. By then, she had grown suspicious of him, she said. Those suspicions escalated after he friended her on Facebook on Sept. 29 -- five days after he told authorities he’d suffocated Feden -- and started commenting on her photos and posting virtual flowers on her timeline. Lawrence described John Chapman was “very mean” to her friend, who showed up at a local bar about three years ago with two black eyes. “The owner of the bar chased him down the street,” Lawrence told Buzzfeed News. “After that he didn’t really come around any of her friends and family.” In one of the text conversations with Lawrence after Feden vanished, the person using the missing woman’s phone blamed her family, in part, for the couple’s split. Feden’s Facebook page indicates that her family was wary of John Chapman long before the fateful September trip to Vegas. In a December post, she wrote that she found it odd her uncle was so “bent out of shape,” apparently after learning that Chapman was cheating on her. “He’s the one in the wrong. He’s the one that’s stalking my boyfriend,” Feden wrote about her uncle. “No rational person would take it that far. He had to have created a dating profile because you can’t see other profiles unless you have one of your own, and he’s a married man.” A family member told her she was being ridiculous. “This isn’t Uncle Keith’s first rodeo with your so-called boyfriend,” the woman wrote. In January, Feden wrote that her family had gone too far, and that John Chapman was planning to seek stalking charges against them. A friend called Chapman a coward and said he would never go to police to file a report. Lawrence told Buzzfeed News Feden likely had no idea her boyfriend was married. Those who knew Feden mourned her on social media, even as authorities await a positive identification of the body found in Nevada. “John Chapman, I hope you rot,” Lawrence wrote in a post Friday, in which she shared WPXI’s story about his arrest in her Feden’s disappearance. Another friend, Miranda Smith, responded that she’d just had a Facebook memory pop up -- a photo of Feden holding her young son when he was a baby -- and she was “ugly crying” as a result. Beth Asper, a former teacher of Feden’s, posted Saturday morning about her kidnapping and suspected slaying. “All of us who knew Jaime can attest that she was such a kind and lovely woman who never deserved anything but kindness in return,” Asper wrote. “I’m so sorry to post this but I know that all of us who knew and loved Jaime would want to know about this so we can mourn the loss of a friend who is so precious to us.” Another former teacher, Linda Loar, wrote that she recalled Feden from her elementary school years, during which time Feden’s mother died. “The circumstances of (Feder’s) passing are so tragic,” Loar wrote. “Let us all take time to honor her life.” Barb Smith Funk described Feder, whose mother was Funk’s childhood friend, as vulnerable to the suspect’s manipulation. “As much as her friends and family tried, they couldn’t protect her from (John Chapman’s) web of lies and deception,” Funk wrote, calling the younger woman’s apparent slaying “premeditated, vicious and unfathomable.” “This monster will rot in hell for what did to our precious Jamie,” she wrote. Lawrence described her missing friend as “such a sweetheart” in her Buzzfeed News interview. “She didn’t do anything wrong to anybody to deserve anything like this,' Lawrence said. 'She loved him, and she just wanted him to love her.”
  • Tilli Buchanan and her husband were sweaty and itchy after spending the day installing insulation in their Utah garage, so they stripped off their long-sleeved shirts to cool down, according to her attorneys. More than a year later -- though that timeline is in some dispute -- Buchanan, 27, of West Valley City, finds herself in court, fighting lewdness charges filed against her in February because her young stepchildren saw her topless. If convicted of the three Class A misdemeanor charges against her, Buchanan could serve jail time and be forced to register as a sex offender for the next decade, the Salt Lake Tribune reported. Her husband, who was also shirtless, has not been charged with a crime. “If we are to lose this, she’s on the sex registry with child rapists and things of that nature,” her attorney, Randy Richards, told reporters. “The magnitude of the penalty on this is enormous.” Buchanan, who is also being represented by the American Civil Liberties Union of Utah, was in court for a hearing on Tuesday, at which time her attorneys argued that Utah’s lewdness act is unconstitutional because it treats men and women differently. “What’s important to look at, to see, when you look at the statute, is there’s part of it that says this part of a woman is found inherently obscene and this part of a man isn’t,” ACLU attorney Leah Farrell told reporters after the hearing. “And that really sets up an unequal, unfair dichotomy.” District Judge Kara Pettit declined to rule from the bench, saying “it’s too important of an issue” for an immediate judgment, the Deseret News reported. Pettit said she would hand down a decision sometime within the next two months. According to Utah’s law against lewdness involving a child, a person can be convicted if he or she exposes his or her genitals, buttocks, anus or pubic area, or the female breast “below the top of the areola,” in front of a child. The law applies if the person does this in public or “in a private place under circumstances the person should know will likely cause affront or alarm or with the intent to arouse or gratify the sexual desire of the actor or the child.” Farrell said that standard is unfair to women because they have to do “mental calculus” to determine if going topless will cause alarm, while that same burden is not placed on men, the News reported. West Valley Deputy City Attorney Corey Sherwin, who is prosecuting Buchanan’s case, told the newspaper that Utah laws do not target women, but said nudity is understood to not only include “lower parts of the body” but also the female breast. He said the lewdness statute applies only to those who intentionally expose themselves around children. In court paperwork obtained by the Tribune, Sherwin argued that Buchanan stripped down in front of the children, boys ages 13 and 9 and a 10-year-old girl, after stating that, if her husband could go shirtless, she should be able to, as well. The documents alleged Buchanan, who Sherwin claimed was “under the influence of alcohol,” later told her husband she would only put her shirt back on if he showed her his penis, the Tribune said. The incident took place in late 2017 or early 2018, according to prosecutors. Buchanan said, however, that it may have taken place as early as the fall of 2016. >> Read more trending news  The Tribune reported that authorities became involved earlier this year during a Division of Child and Family Services investigation that did not involve Buchanan. The incident came to light during that unrelated probe and the children’s mother called police, saying she was alarmed by what had happened in front of the kids. Buchanan’s recollection of the incident differs greatly from the claims made by prosecutors. She said that, when the children came downstairs to find her without a shirt, she used the moment as a teaching experience for her stepchildren. She said she pointed out to the children that they were not made uncomfortable by their father’s bare chest. “This isn’t a sexual thing,” she recalled telling the children, according to the Tribune. “I should be able to wear exactly what my husband wears. You shouldn’t be embarrassed about this.” Listen to Tilli Buchanan speak following her court hearing below, courtesy of KSL in Salt Lake City. Richards argued earlier this year that Buchanan should not face charges for being shirtless in her own home while her husband escapes punishment or condemnation for the same behavior. “The fact that this was in the privacy of one’s own home is real troubling,” Richards told the Tribune in September. “Different people have different moral positions as far as nudity.” Richards’ argument has been based largely on a February opinion by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit Court, which upheld a lower court ruling that a Fort Collins, Colorado, ordinance banning women from going topless violated their 14th Amendment guarantee of equal protection under the law. Fox13 in Salt Lake City reported in September that the court narrowed its ruling in the case, Free the Nipple Fort Collins v. City of Fort Collins, to address solely the Fort Collins ordinance. West Valley City prosecutors cited that narrow scope during arguments in Buchanan’s case, arguing that the “Free the Nipple” ruling is more narrow than the ACLU might like. Read the court ruling in full below. Free the Nipple v Fort Collins by National Content Desk on Scribd The ruling, which made headlines nationwide, is slowly making its mark on other Utah cases, however. FOX 13 reported that attorneys with clients facing lewdness charges have begun citing the appeals court ruling in their own arguments. Buchanan said she was devastated by the criminal charges filed against her. “The moment I took to teach the kids, it was kind of smashed,” she told the Tribune. “Like you can’t teach kids this. In fact, you’re going to be charged for even bringing this up.” After Tuesday’s hearing, Buchanan told reporters she is hopeful at least a portion of the state’s lewdness law will be struck down. “Especially given it was in the privacy of my own home, my husband was right next to me, in the exact same manner that I was, and he’s not being prosecuted for it,” Buchanan said.
  • A 63-year-old man accused of shooting and killing two teens on his West Dayton property was indicted Thursday on charges of murder and felonious assault, which comes after months of public outcry over a lack of an arrest and criminal prosecution in the killings. >> Read more trending news  Victor Santana, who owned the home at 848 Conner St., has been indicted by a Montgomery County grand jury for fatally shooting 17-year-old Dayton residents Devin Henderson and Javier Harrison. “The evidence in this case does not demonstrate a reasonable claim of self-defense,” Montgomery County Prosecutor Mat Heck Jr. said. Santana is in the Montgomery County Jail following his arrest on a warrant Thursday. Santana faces four counts of murder, five counts of felonious assault and one count of attempt to commit murder. Henderson, 17, of Dayton, died after being shot twice in the back in a garage at 848 Conners St., according to crime scene and autopsy photos and Montgomery County Coroner’s Office records. Harrison, also 17, was struck by gunfire in his back, arm and thigh, the records show. Prosecutors announced they will seek a high bond for Santana from the judge, because Santana has multiple residences in the U.S., including in New Mexico and California. In September, Montgomery County Prosecutor’s Office spokesman Greg Flannagan said Dayton Police Department investigators met with a panel of assistant prosecuting attorneys and reviewed the evidence in the case. “It was agreed by everyone that additional investigation needs to be completed before a formal filing of charges,” Flannagan said at the time. “The investigators will notify us when the investigation is complete in order to set a date to present the filing.” Linda Henderson, Devin Henderson’s mother, said it was heartbreaking to learn her son and his friend were shot in the back. “That’s bad news for any parent to hear,” she said. “To me, it seems like they were just trying to get away.” Dayton police Chief Richard Biehl on multiple occasions has said a new state law shifts the burden of proof in self-defense cases from the defendant to the prosecutors, which could affect this case. “The burden is on the state to prove this was not self-defense — it’s a high standard,” Biehl said. At about 9:30 p.m. Aug. 28, a resident of the home at 848 Conners St. says he heard noises and voices outside and saw a light from a car in his garage, police said. The man, who authorities have not identified, encountered three individuals and fired multiple shots from a .38-caliber pistol, police said. Henderson and Harrison were shot and killed, and the third individual, 19-year-old Jashin Gibson, fled but then returned when police and fire crews arrived on scene, police said. Gibson was arrested for breaking and entering. Gibson was booked in the Montgomery County Jail on a probation violation related to a robbery conviction, but was no longer there Thursday. Police said the detached garage was unsecured and open. The garage is about 15 feet from the home. Henderson was struck by two bullets in the back, according to coroner records and photos. One struck the left side of his upper back, and the other struck the right side, around the shoulder blade. Crime scene photographs show Henderson’s body wedged between the far wall of the garage and a silver Lincoln Continental. Harrison was struck by a bullet in the mid-section of the left back. It exited his chest and was recovered from his clothing, the initial autopsy report states. He also was hit in the thigh and the left forearm, with the bullet exiting through his elbow. Harrison’s body was found in the grass outside the garage, with his feet by the entryway, according to crime scene photos. The shooter called 911 to report the incident. He put the pistol down on his front porch before emergency responders arrived. Attorney Michael Wright, who is representing Harrison’s family, said it’s “somewhat obvious” that the shooting was not in self-defense. “We believe that they probably shouldn’t have been in the garage; however, they shouldn’t have been killed for being in the garage,” he said. In August, Biehl said it was tragic that two teens lost their lives, and police were consulting with prosecutors about the case. Biehl said it will be up to prosecutors to determine if it was a justifiable case of self-defense or a criminal act. Under a new state law, prosecutors must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that a person who uses deadly force did not do so in self-defense, defense of another or defense of the person’s residence. The burden used to be on the defendant to prove they acted in self-defense. Biehl said there was evidence of some drug activity taking place in the garage. Harrison’s father, Jimmy Harrison, previously said the boys sometimes went to the property to smoke marijuana. Henderson’s mother said the boys had gone to the property multiple times before. She said the shooter should have called the police when he heard noises outside or fire a warning shot. “I’m hearing this today that my son was shot twice in the back, and that little boy three times — that’s not right at all,” Linda Henderson said. “They didn’t have a chance.” She said she wants justice for her son, who was a twin, and for Harrison and his family.
  • Two people died Thursday morning in what officials called a 'mishap' involving two aircraft at Vance Air Force Base. >> Read more trending news  The mishap, which happened around 9:10 a.m. local time, involved two Air Force T-38 Talons, officials said. The aircraft were carrying two people each for a routine training mission when the incident occurred. Emergency response personnel responded to the scene shortly after the incident was reported, authorities said. Officials declined to immediately identify the people killed in the mishap, citing the need to notify next of kin. Gov. Kevin Stitt offered state support to Vance Air Force Base officials in a statement posted on Twitter after the incident. 'My thoughts and prayers are with the pilots' families and the team at Vance Air Force Base,' Stitt said. 'I have talked with the Wing Commander at Vance AFB to communicate the state will offer support in any possible way during this time.' Sen. James Lankford, R-Oklahoma, said in a statement that he was 'deeply saddened' to learn of the incident at Vance Air Force Base. 'Our servicemen and women give everything, even their lives, to protect our nation,' Lankford said. 'I pray for God's grace and healing as their families walk through this and to all those they serve with as they try to understand the difficult loss of their friend and coworker. My office will continue to communicate with personnel at Vance and the Enid community to provide resources and assistance in the days ahead.' Authorities said a safety investigation team was investigating the incident. The Cox Media Group National Content Desk contributed to this report.
  • Nine months after authorities discovered a Texas toddler's remains in an acid-filled bucket, her parents have learned their sentence. >> Read more trending news  According to The Associated Press, a judge on Friday sentenced Monica Yvonne Dominguez, of Laredo, to 20 years in prison after she pleaded guilty to abusing a corpse, tampering with evidence and child endangerment. Her husband, Gerardo Zavala-Loredo, received a 14-year prison sentence after he pleaded guilty to an evidence-tampering charge. Dominguez said her daughter, Rebecka, drowned in the tub Feb. 14 while bathing with another child, according to prosecutors. Dominguez said the children were unsupervised at the time, authorities said. Prosecutors said Dominguez sought Zavala-Loredo's help to dispose of the girl's remains, which police found in a bucket inside a closet, the AP reported earlier this year. Dominguez, who also pleaded guilty to child injury charges in 2016, was sentenced in April to 10 years in prison for violating the terms of her probation, the Laredo Morning Times reported. The 20-year sentence will begin after she finishes serving her first sentence, according to the AP. Read more here. – The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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