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(Update) No signs of violence in Mexico – Creston family deaths

News

March 23rd, 2018 by Ric Hanson

CRESTON, Iowa (AP) — The bodies of an Iowa couple and their two children were found in a rented condo in Mexico on Friday, though it wasn’t immediately clear what caused their deaths, according to investigators.

The family was reported missing by relatives in their hometown of Creston, Iowa, earlier in the day, about a week after the family left for vacation. Creston police contacted the U.S. Department of State, and the bodies were found during a welfare check at the condo in Tulum, on the Yucatan Peninsula.

In Mexico, the Quintana Roo state prosecutors office tweeted that the bodies were found in a tourist compound. The office said that “no signs of violence were found on the bodies or in the room,” though authorities said it wasn’t immediately clear what caused the deaths. Autopsy reports were pending. Iowa authorities identified the family as 41-year-old Kevin Sharp; his wife, 38-year-old Amy Sharp; and their children, 12-year-old Sterling and 7-year-old Adrianna.

Reached Friday, the developer of the condo complex where the deaths occurred declined to comment. The family flew to Cancun, Mexico, on March 14. According to her sister, Amy Sharp texted their mother the next day to say they’d reached Tulum, but relatives hadn’t heard from the family since then.

The sister, Renee Hoyt, said the Sharps were scheduled to return to the U.S. this week. They were scheduled to depart from the Cancun airport on Wednesday and fly to St. Louis on a non-stop flight. The family had planned to then drive about 200 miles to Danville, Illinois, to watch a basketball game Thursday, Hoyt said.

When the family didn’t arrive in St. Louis, family members contacted authorities, she said.

S.W. IA Burglary suspects arrested in southern IA

News

March 23rd, 2018 by Ric Hanson

Sheriff’s officials in southern Iowa’s Decatur County report two suspects being sought in connection with burglaries in Montgomery and Ringgold Counties, have been arrested thanks to an observant resident. Authorities say that at around 10:50-a.m. Thursday, the Decatur County dispatch center received a call from a Leon resident  saying that there were two suspicious individuals at his residence.

The citizen said he had seen various press releases on social media from other counties west of Decatur that residents should be on the lookout for a maroon GMC Yukon occupied by a black male and a black female, and recognized the vehicle and occupants from those posts. Leon Police Chief, Jason Weir and Chief Deputy Chris Lane were able to locate the vehicle and initiate a traffic stop north of Leon on Highway 69, near J20.

Burglary suspects

During the traffic stop Clarke County Chief Deputy Lucas Darby arrived on scene with his K9, Diesel. Diesel “hit” on the vehicle, indicating the presence of an illegal substance. Soon thereafter, officers were able to identify items that had been reported stolen in Montgomery and Decatur County, Iowa. The three occupants of the vehicle were identified as 28-year old Victor Lamont Gaston, of Warner Robins, Georgia; 29-year old Jenea Yervone Gaston, of Macon, Georgia; and 25-year old Ja Shawn Lamar Clayborne, of Toledo, Ohio and were detained for further investigation.

Upon execution of a search warrant of the vehicle, officers located item reported as stolen from Decatur, Ringgold and Montgomery Counties along with several other items believed to have been stolen but not yet identified. Information obtained during the search of the vehicle led officers to a Motel 6 in St. Joseph, Missouri where numerous other items of stolen property were located.

Each of the three suspects have been charged with Burglary in the Third Degree and two counts of Possession of Stolen Property in Decatur County and are awaiting their initial appearance before a Judge. Additional Burglary charges has also been filed in Montgomery County, Iowa and their bond has been set at $40,000 cash on each.

Agencies involved in the investigation include the Decatur County Sheriff’s Department, the Leon Police Department, Clarke County Sheriff’s Office, the Osceola Police Department, Montgomery County Sheriff’s Department, Ringgold County Sheriff’s Department, Iowa Department of Natural Resources, Iowa Department of Motor Vehicle Enforcement, the Drug and Narcotic Enforcement Agency and the St. Joseph, Missouri Police Department. The matter remains under investigation. If you have any information regarding this investigation, please contact the Decatur County Sheriff’s Department at 641-446-4111.

Glenwood man sentenced on meth distribution charge

News

March 23rd, 2018 by Ric Hanson

The U-S Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Iowa reports 36-year old David Joseph Jay, III, of Glenwood, was sentenced Thursday in U-S District Court in Council Bluffs, to 20-years in prison for Possession with the Intent to Distribute Methamphetamine. Jay was also ordered to serve 10-years of supervised release following his incarceration.

The investigation began with a citizen complaint regarding possible drug trafficking at a residence in Glenwood. Following subsequent investigation, a search warrant was executed at  Jay’s residence.  Methamphetamine, lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), along with prescription pills and marijuana were discovered.

The investigation was conducted by the Glenwood Police Department, Mills County Sheriff’s Office, and Southwest Iowa Narcotics Task Force. The case was prosecuted by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Iowa.

Union County Authorities confirm the worst in missing family case

News

March 23rd, 2018 by Ric Hanson

The Creston Police Department has confirmed the worst news in the case of a missing Creston family. Authorities said today, that at 12:02-a.m. today (Friday), immediate family members of the Sharp family came to the Creston Police Department to report the family missing. Missing persons reports were entered into the nationwide database. Officers were able to make rapid contact with the U-S State Department. A welfare check was conducted at the condominium where the family was believed to have been staying in Mexico.

Upon investigation, the bodies of 41-year old Kevin Wayne Sharp, his wife, 38-year old Amy Marie Sharp, their children, 12-year old Sterling Wayne Sharp, and 7-year old Adrianna Marie Sharp, were found. Autopsies are being performed in Mexico, and results are pending.

The family left the United States on March 15th, destined for Tulum, Mexico. They were scheduled to depart Cancun, Mexico at 2:45-p.m. Wednesday, March 21st, and had been scheduled to arrive in St. Louis at around 6-p.m. that same day. They had plans to attend the Southwestern Community College basketball game Thursday, in Danville, IL. Family and friends said earlier, that there had been no contact with the family since March 15th, when they arrived at their condo in Tulum. Cell phone pings indicated they were still in Mexico, but with no movement recorded. There was also been no activity on their social media pages.

In an ironic twist, it was 17-years ago, on March 8th 2001, that a Des Moines environmentalist disappeared from his Cabo San Lucas ranch. According to reports at the time, 62-year old Alan H. Blank was reported missing a day after he was scheduled to meet Mexican government officials for approval to construct the zoo.  Blank met that same day with a restaurateur who was hoping to win a food concession contract for the zoo Blank was building in the area.

Blank disappeared after meeting Jimmy Presley, who had reportedly suffered some financial setbacks and was frustrated the government review process was delaying the project in Mexico. The Blank family believes Presley attacked Alan Blank and may have killed him. Presley himself died March 9th, 2001 in what Mexican authorities said was a suicide by driving his van, head-on into a large bus. Blank’s family declared him dead in April, 2001, after an extensive search failed to locate him.

The Blank family founded the Blank Park Zoo and Blank Children’s Hospital in Des Moines.

 

Missing family from Creston said to be deceased

News

March 23rd, 2018 by Ric Hanson

Close friends of a family from Creston who failed to return home from a trip to Mexico have told KJAN the family is deceased. They received the word from other family members. A person at the Union County Sheriff’s Office would not confirm or deny the report at this time, but said a press release would be issued if there are new developments to pass along. It’s not clear where their deaths occurred.

Kevin, Amy, Sterling and Adrianna Sharp left the United States on March 15th, destined for Tulum, Mexico. The family was scheduled to depart Cancun, Mexico at 2:45-p.m. Wednesday, March 21st, and had been scheduled to arrive in St. Louis at around 6-p.m. that same day. They had plans to attend the Southwestern Community College basketball game Thursday, in Danville, IL.

Family and friends said earlier, that there has been no contact with the family since March 15th, when the arrived at their condo in Tulum. Cell phone pings indicated they were still in Mexico, but with no movement recorded. There’s also been no activity on their social media pages. A missing persons report has been filed through the U-S Embassy in Mexico, in an attempt to located the Sharp family. If you have any information about their location, contact law enforcement.

In an ironic twist, it was 17-years ago, on March 8th 2001, that a Des Moines environmentalist disappeared from his Cabo San Lucas ranch. According to reports at the time, 62-year old Alan H. Blank was reported missing a day after he was scheduled to meet Mexican government officials for approval to construct the zoo.  Blank met that same day with a restaurateur who was hoping to win a food concession contract for the zoo Blank was building in the area.

Blank disappeared after meeting Jimmy Presley, who had reportedly suffered some financial setbacks and was frustrated the government review process was delaying the project in Mexico. The Blank family believes Presley attacked Alan Blank and may have killed him. Presley himself died March 9th, 2001 in what Mexican authorities said was a suicide by driving his van, head-on into a large bus. Blank’s family declared him dead in April, 2001, after an extensive search failed to locate him.

The Blank family founded the Blank Park Zoo and Blank Children’s Hospital in Des Moines.

Former member of the Blockton Fire Dept. arrested on numerous arson charges

News

March 23rd, 2018 by Ric Hanson

The Taylor County Sheriff’s Office reports a former firefighter on the Blockton Fire Department, was arrested Thursday, on arson charges. Authorities say 21-year old James Drake, of Blockton, faces five counts of Arson in the 3rd degree. At the request of officials with the Blockton Fire Dept. an investigation was started after several suspicious grass fires occurred in the Blockton Fire district. The current charges against Drake are with regard to fires set within the last several weeks, although it is believed that Drake is responsible for setting grass fires that span multiple years.

Since his arrest, Drake has been removed from the Blockton Fire Department.  He was arrested at the Taylor County Law Enforcement Center, Thursday, and later posted a $2,000 cash bond before being released.

Outdoor warning siren tests to begin today (Friday) in Griswold, Lewis and Atlantic

News, Weather

March 23rd, 2018 by Ric Hanson

Cass County Emergency Management Director Mike Kennon reports the Cities of Atlantic, Lewis and Griswold will be testing their Outdoor Warning sirens each Friday at Noon, beginning today (Friday, 3/23). Anyone who notices a defective or improperly operating siren, should contact the Cass County Emergency Management Agency at 712-254-1500.

Nebraska homeless shelter raises concerns about Iowa casino

News

March 23rd, 2018 by Ric Hanson

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — An official for an Omaha homeless shelter says a casino proposed nearby in Iowa would be a problem for people the shelter serves. The Omaha World-Herald reports that the Ponca Tribe of Nebraska is moving toward opening a casino in Carter Lake, Iowa, which is about a mile from Open Door Mission.

Mission President and CEO Candace Gregory says studies show that homeless people are more likely to gamble than the general population. She says the community should consider the human cost of having the casino located so close to the shelter. Tribe Chairman Larry Wright Jr. says the casino will boost the area’s economy.

The National Indian Gaming Commission ruled in November that the tribe can construct the casino after a decade of lawsuits, appeals and legal reviews.

Iowa unemployment rate holds steady at 2.9 percent

News

March 23rd, 2018 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa’s unemployment rate remained at 2.9 percent in February. Iowa Workforce Development announced Friday the rate remained unchanged from January even as the number of unemployed residents dropped slightly to 47,900 people. The number of people with jobs increased by 500 and stood at about 1.6 million. Iowa’s rate was tied with Maine and Wisconsin for the nation’s sixth lowest. The national unemployment rate in February was 4.1 percent.

Cass County Sheriff’s Office asks for help in ID’ing person who passed a counterfeit bill in Anita

News

March 23rd, 2018 by Ric Hanson

The Cass County Sheriff’s Office this (Friday) morning, posted pictures on their social media page, showing a man who had allegedly passed a counterfeit $50 at Caseys, in Anita. They are asking the public for help in identifying the individual. If you know who the person is, call the Cass County Sheriff’s Office at 712-243-2206.