Case news

Most recent articles added to the case archives

Police charge woman in slaying of toddler

Date: 1999-10-07

Christina Pino-Marina
El Paso Times

An East Side woman was arrested Wednesday and faces capital murder charges for allegedly killing her 18-month-old daughter by fracturing her skull, police said.

Martha J. Melendez, 24, of the 3300 block of East Glen, was arrested Wednesday and accused of killing her daughter, Breianna Melendez. Police said Breianna suffered a severe head injury and died of a fractured skull. The home is a few blocks east of Lee Trevi?o Drive and just south of Edgemere Boulevard.

"The mother called EMS (Tuesday night) and reported the child had fallen and appeared injured," Police spokesman Sgt. Al Velarde said Wednesday. "The child was taken to Thomason (Hospital) for treatment and died later in the night."

Velarde said the mother first told officers the child fell out of her arms when she was getting into the shower with her daughter. But an autopsy later Wednesday afternoon showed the fractured skull and "indicated evidence that the child had suffered previous head injuries," he said.

United States v. Danser, 110. F. Supp. 2d 807, 826 (S.D. Ind. 1999)

Date: 1999-10-06

U.S. v. Danser


United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division.

UNITED STATES of America, Plaintiff,
David Karl DANSER, Defendant.

No. IP 98-161-CR-01 T/F.

Oct. 6, 1999.

Defendant was charged with three child pornography-related offenses. The District Court, Tinder, J., held that: (1) evidence was sufficient to establish that defendant committed charged offenses, and (2) defendant failed to establish that he was legally insane at time he committed the offenses.

Defendant adjudged to be guilty.


TINDER, District Judge.

Guilty Plea in Adoption Scheme

Date: 1999-10-02

Guilty Plea in Adoption Scheme
Published: October 2, 1999

A lawyer accused of running an adoption ring in which he and two Long Island women smuggled babies to the New York region from Mexico pleaded guilty yesterday to a conspiracy charge.

The lawyer, Mario Manuel Reyes, 41, an Arizona resident and American citizen licensed to practice law in Mexico, entered the plea before Judge Jacob Mishler in Federal District Court in Uniondale, N.Y., admitting that he conspired to transport the children and conceal that they were in the United States illegally.

But in a statement to the court, his lawyer, Stephen P. Scaring, said Mr. Reyes had acted on humanitarian grounds to find financially and emotionally stable parents in the United States for infants born in Mexico to prostitutes or destitute mothers who would otherwise have had abortions. In an interview afterward, Mr. Scaring said his client is Roman Catholic and opposed to abortion.

Testimony to U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations

Date: 1999-09-30

Chairman Jesse Helms,
U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations,
Date: September 30, 1999.

RE: International Adoption

We support S. 682 and would like to submit our story to you for
consideration when you are considering S. 682. It is imperative that
adoption agencies, lawyers and other child placing agencies be held
responsible for their actions. There should be recourse for families if
an agency is found to be unethical, irresponsible and or fraudulent.
Our Story:

Guilty plea in abuse case of adopted son

Date: 1999-09-14

A former supervisor for the Administration for Children's Services pleaded guilty in Brooklyn Supreme Court last week to sodomizing his 16-year-old adopted son.

George Alex Allen, 52, of 235 Bainbridge St., Bedford-Stuyvesant, entered his plea in front of Supreme Court Justice Abraham Gerges, in exchange for a sentence of one to three years in prison.

Allen will be sentenced next month.


Date: 1999-09-04

Author: Associated Press

Dateline: RUTLEDGE, GA.

A Morgan County man stomped his 7-year-old foster daughter to death when she threw a tantrum because he wouldn't buy her a doll, sheriff's officials said Friday.

Sheriff's deputies have charged 35-year-old Paul Morris, the girl's foster father, with murder and cruelty to children after an autopsy showed the girl died from a ruptured liver.

Mr. Morris and his wife were trying to adopt the girl, whose name investigators refused to release. She had been taken away from her natural parents because she was born addicted to cocaine and had been sexually and physically abused.

The attack happened Sunday when the Morris family had returned from the mall in Athens. Mr. Morris and his wife had bought one of their sons football cleats, and the girl was upset because she wanted a doll.

``This is not a family that just goes out and buys a lot of stuff all at one time,'' said Sheron Vance, an investigator for the Morgan County Sheriff's Department.

Mom who abused girl ordered to stand trial in 1995 death

Date: 1999-09-04

COLDWATER, Mich. (AP) -- A mother who pleaded guilty to what authorities called one of the worst cases of child abuse in Utah history has been ordered to stand trial here in another daughter's death.

A judge Thursday ordered Rebecca Tucker to stand trial on charges of second-degree murder and first-degree child abuse in the 1995 death of 3-year-old Danielle Tucker in Coldwater, The Daily Reporter of Coldwater reported. Tucker and her husband were living in Coldwater at the time.Rebecca Tucker, who is serving a five-year sentence in Utah for nearly starving her daughter to death, could face up to life in prison if convicted.

Prosecutors said Rebecca Tucker pushed Danielle, who was adopted, down a flight of stairs at the family's home in 1995, originally telling police the fall was an accident.

The little girl died of head injuries suffered in the fall. The investigation into her death began after Rebecca Tucker was charged with child abuse in Utah.

Three tragedies rock rural Morgan County

Date: 1999-09-04

Violence: Two child killings and rape of baby in a week leave many residents reeling.
Author: Jingle Davis; Staff

Dateline: Rutledge

Article Text:

Stephanie Collins, whose seven years were filled with tragedy, died wanting a Cheerleader Barbie doll.

Paul Anthony Morris, 35, her prospective adoptive father, beat and stomped the child to death here Saturday night after she ''acted up'' on a family shopping trip to Athens because she didn't get the doll, according to investigator Sheron Vance of the Morgan County Sheriff's Department.

Vance said Morris hit Stephanie with his fists, beat her with a belt, then threw the 50-pound girl to the floor and jumped on her chest with both feet, rupturing her liver.

The child's death, along with two unrelated criminal cases -- the torture-slaying of 17-year-old Krystal Gayle Archer of Elbert County and the sexual assault on a baby girl -- stunned residents when they came to light this week in this rural county of 17,000, about 50 miles east of downtown Atlanta.

Buy Buy Baby: 'Children available: newborns, healthy, male and female'

Date: 1999-08-27
International adoption of Guatemalan children has become an £18m industry. But, as demand outstrips supply, there is growing evidence that babies are being bought from mothers - or even stolen. Matthew Chapman reports

Elivia Cano's hands are trembling and the dark patches beneath her eyes betray a string of sleepless nights as she recalls the moment her baby son was taken away from her and sold to a foreign couple. The memories of those few hours - of going into labour and then, still woozy from the medication, watching her newborn child being carried off - have left her with deep psychological scars.

"If anyone even raises their voice now I tremble all over," says Cano, as she wipes away a few tears beginning to trickle down her cheeks. "I was treated like rubbish, an insignificant person."

Cano's child was one of 1,300 Guatemalan infants put up for international adoption last year. While many of these adoptions are perfectly legitimate, there is increasing evidence to suggest that a significant number have been bought illegally from poor mothers or simply stolen.

A story so sad it's kinda scary

Date: 1999-08-09

John Wilkens
The San Diego Union-Tribune

Alicia Wade is 18 now, getting ready for her senior year in high school. She has two horses at the family farm in Cabool, Mo., wants more, and is thinking about becoming a veterinarian.

She doesn't talk much about San Diego, where evil came in through a bedroom window and turned her family's life upside down.

"It wasn't a very pleasant time for us there -- so, if it comes up, it comes up indirectly," said her father, Jim Wade. "But it's not like we're pretending it didn't happen."

On May 8, 1989, a methamphetamine abuser and registered sex offender named Albert Raymond Carder Jr. plucked 8-year-old Alicia from her bed in Cabrillo Heights, a Navy housing complex in Serra Mesa.

Carder took the girl to a nearby field and raped and sodomized her. He told her to be quiet or he would kill her. Then he brought her back.

Alicia told all this to authorities the next day, after her injuries were discovered. The authorities thought she was lying to protect her father.

Police accuse parents of killing adopted daughter

Date: 1999-08-05

By Lawrence Waish

The 1992 murder of Helen Gillin was brutal; the disposal of her body methodical.

Who tried to poison the mentally retarded woman, stomped her to death when the poison didn't work and then burned her body in a pit behind a split-level home in Bear Rocks, Fayette County?

State polioa. who have been investigating her disappearance for seven years. yesterday said er Barents did it.

James D. Gillin, 52. and Roberta F. Gillin, 50, the the couple who adopted the victim into their family oi three sons and one daughter were charged yesterday morning with homicide, abuse of a corpse and conspiracy.

They were arraigned before District Justice Robert W. Breakiron of Connellsvtlle and committed without bond to the Fayette County Prison in Unlontown. Their hearing ls scheduled for 1 p.m. Monday.

According to affidavits of probably cause submitted to Breakiron by the state police,the murder of Helen Giliin was the culmination of an argument between her parents in July 1992. The argument began when Roberta Gillins accused her husband of having a sexual relationship with the 25-year-old victim..

Cold case crime site dug up

Date: 1999-08-05

Scholars join investigators seeking evidence in the brutal 1992 murder of a woman after her parents confess to the killing, state police say.

Associated Press

BEAR ROCKS - An anthropological team from Mercyhurst College on Friday continued searching for evidence in the alleged 1992 murder of a 25-year-old mentally retarded woman by her adoptive parents.

Forensic anthropologist Dennis Dirkmaat is leading a team of Mercyhurst students and faculty as well as state police in a search for Helen Gillin’s bone fragments in a wooded lot in Fayette County. Police alleged that Helen's parents, James, 52, and his wife, Roberta, 50, tried to poison their daughter, then stomped on her and perhaps stabbed her. They are also accused of burning her body and dumping the ashes in the pit where the dig is taking place. Police said they also dumped animal bones in the pit to cover their actions.

The Gillins allegedly killed their daughter after Roberta Gillin accused her husband of having sex with the woman, police said.

Police compared the search to an archeological dig, with the team on their hands and knees digging carefully.

Couple's jail terms delayed

Date: 1999-08-05

DURANGO - Jail-reporting dates have been delayed for a Bayfield couple convicted of child abuse in the death of an adopted daughter.On Monday, District Judge Greg Lyman granted the 60-day delays while lawyers for Dennis and Sandy Evers appeal the convictions.They were convicted May 11 of criminally negligent child abuse resulting in serious bodily injury stemming from the death of their adopted 6-year-old daughter, Roberta....



Date: 1999-08-02

The Palm Beach Post
Author: Dan Moffett Palm Beach Post Staff Writer

An experienced commodities trader, Michael Chalek understands the reality that markets dictate pricing.

Still, he didn't expect that to apply to human lives - particularly his own.

Adopted days after his birth, Chalek wondered for decades about his natural mother and the circumstances that led her to leave him. He found out last fall when he persuaded a Gainesville judge to open his confidential adoption file, an extraordinary order usually granted only for medical emergencies.

``I found out that I had been sold for $200 to a baby broker,'' Chalek said. ``I was shocked, and I was hurt.''

Florida was a national center for black market adoptions in the 1950s, when Chalek and thousands like him lost their identities. Now he is fighting in the courts to reverse the injustice he says has tormented him since childhood.


Date: 1999-08-01

Associated Press

AGUA PRIETA, Mexico - Many people in this dry border region took the news of the child-smuggling ring as confirmation of old fears: that Americans are stealing Mexican children and selling them for adoption in "El Norte."

The reality is more mundane, but no less troubling.

The 17 children in the case who were given false names, smuggled into the United States and offered for adoption belong to an underclass of thousands of youngsters in Mexico.

Their parents can't care for them, and yet few will be adopted legally because of bureaucracy, a cultural stigma against adoption by Mexican couples and wariness of adoptions by foreigners. Many children in orphanages will be there until they're old enough to go out on their own.

Three arrested

The case came to light in May with the arrest of two New York women and a Mexican lawyer who allegedly charged up to $22,000 a child for using falsified papers to place Mexican children with U.S. couples.

Pound Pup Legacy