Wichita Police Seek Public's Help in Search for Newborn
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Police are pressing for the public's help in finding a missing newborn girl whose mother was shot to death in her Wichita, Kansas, home. Police said Friday that 27-year-old Laura Abarca-Nogueda's boyfriend returned home from work Thursday to find her shot to death and their week-old daughter missing. The FBI has joined the search for the week-old girl, Sofia Victoria Gonzalez Abarca. Sargeant Nikki Woodrow says the girl's father isn't considered a suspect. Wichita Police Chief Gordon Ramsay, during a news conference Friday afternoon, urged anyone with information about the missing baby to call an FBI tip line at 800-225-5324. Police say of special interest are any reports about someone suddenly passing off a child as their own, or buying large quantities of baby formula or clothing.
Kansas Seeks Proposals to Privately Operate Mental Hospital
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas agency is seeking proposals from private contractors to run a troubled state mental hospital that lost its federal certification a year ago over safety issues. The Kansas Department of Aging and Disability Services issued a request for proposals on Monday to run Osawatomie State Hospital, one of the state's two mental hospitals. The Osawatomie facility, about 45 miles southwest of Kansas City, has been losing between $500,000 and $1 million a month in federal funds since decertification last November. Lawmakers earlier this year approved measures requiring KDADS to seek permission from the Legislature before privatizing the facility. Department secretary Tim Keck says soliciting proposals for private operation will give the state another option next year when lawmakers are trying to decide how to fund the facility.
Pompeo CIA Nomination Would Open Kansas Congressional Seat
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — President-elect Donald's Trump's nomination of U.S. Rep. Mike Pompeo for the top CIA job would put up for grabs the congressional seat in the south-central district. Pompeo says in a statement that he is "honored and humbled" to accept the nomination, calling the decision to leave his congressional seat difficult. He says the opportunity to lead the CIA is a call to service he could not ignore. Before starting the job, Pompeo would have to be confirmed by the Senate. Pompeo was elected to the 4th District congressional seat during the tea party wave of 2010, and easily won re-election this month. A special election would be required to fill the post. There is no primary.
Kansas Court System Seeks Funding Increase for Salaries
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas court system is seeking a $20 million increase in state appropriations to improve the pay of judges and court employees, who are being paid less than peers in other states. The request came Friday after two studies found that every job classification in the state's judicial system was paid below market value, ranging from 4.6 percent to 22.2 percent. One study from the National Center for State Courts found one-quarter of judicial branch employee positions earn starting salaries below the federal poverty level for a family of four. It also found that one-third of court employees work more than one job, a rate 24 percent higher than the state average. Court employees have received only a 2 percent cost of living increase in the last eight years.
Dogs Get In on Internet's 'Mannequin Challenge' Craze
PITTSBURG, Kan. (AP) — The "mannequin challenge" has gone to the dogs. Canines are getting in on the internet craze that has featured videos of athletes, students and celebrities frozen in various poses. Kansas college student Ryan Thomas has garnered nearly 200,000 retweets for his video of a boxer named Boston sitting perfectly still while wearing costumes. The dog also displays impressive willpower by posing in front of a tray of muffins and on a couch while covered in Doritos. Not to be outdone, WTVC-TV reports Ralfi, a dog in Chattanooga, Tennessee, is the star of a challenge video, posing with bacon in its mouth, a ball on its nose and a full glass of wine on its head.
Topeka Man Sentenced in Criminal Threat Case
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A Topeka businessman has been sentenced to probation for threatening an Oklahoma man. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that Kent D. Lindemuth was sentenced Thursday to six months in jail, but the judge suspended the sentence and placed him on one year of supervised probation. A Shawnee County jury convicted him earlier of one count of making a criminal threat. During the trial, Lindemuth testified that he denied threatening to shoot Mike Matthews, an Oklahoma trucking firm owner, during a 2014 dispute about a trailer and cargo valued at more than $500,000. Lindemuth, a Topeka real estate developer, said he would appeal his conviction.
Lindemuth also faces separate federal charges accusing him of bankruptcy fraud. He's accused in that case of buying 103 firearms after filing for bankruptcy.
Man Sentenced in Deadly Kansas Bar Fight
OLATHE, Kan. (AP) — A 33-year-old man faces about seven years in prison for killing another man with a pool cue at a Johnson County bar. The Kansas City Star reports that Gregory B. David Cooper was sentenced Friday to seven and a half years in prison. He pleaded no contest earlier to second-degree murder in the death of 23-year-old Tyler Knudsen. Knudsen was fatally injured in December inside an Edgerton bar. Cooper's attorney argued that his client was leaving the bar as another man was challenging him to fight when he felt someone "contact" his back. That's when he swung the cue, striking Knudsen in the neck. Testimony showed Knudsen was not involved in the altercation.