Former Havana city clerk charged with embezzlement

A former City of Havana official has been charged in federal court with one count of bank fraud and one count of wire fraud.


U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom of Wichita charged Diana Cox of Havana with the two crimes for allegedly defrauding the City of Havana of $14,658 and the Cross Point Baptist Church in Caney of $44,568.51. Both events allegedly took place in 2011.

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Sheriff: girl’s death may have been accidental

INDEPENDENCE — Montgomery County Sheriff Robert Dierks announced today that his office is investigating what they believe to be the accidental death of a 17-year-old Independence girl early on Tuesday, Jan. 7.


Dierks stated that Shirley Catherine Raven Scout Fowler was discovered by her family in the early morning hours of Jan. 7, in her home and she was unresponsive. Dierks stated that EMS was contacted to respond, however Fowler was not able to be resuscitated.

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Independence man arrested following murder of girlfriend

INDEPENDENCE (Jan. 6) — Independence police chief Harry Smith has confirmed that a 41-year-old Independence man was arrested early Monday and will be recommended on a charge of murder in the death of his girlfriend.

Arrested was Russell McQueen Arndt, age 41, of 217 S. 2nd. Found dead at the same address early Monday morning was Arndt’s girlfriend, Rebecca Ann Whittley, age 35. More details to follow.

(The above story is a corrected version of an earlier posting)

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Independence resident pushes for stronger security at local bars

INDEPENDENCE — An Independence woman who lost a family member in an assault at a local bar asked city commissioners on Thursday (Jan. 2) to require tougher security measures at local taverns.


Bonnie Tucker, whose son, Pete Tucker, died from injuries in an assault at a local bar in February 2013, asked commission to impose a regulation requiring security lights and cameras in the outdoor smoking areas and eating/drinking areas of local taverns. The enhanced protections will allow bars and taverns to better police their establishments and prevent injuries to patrons, she said.

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Alert church volunteers create heightened security at Tyro Christian Church


Incident at Tyro church results in locking doors and calling sheriff

TYRO — Leaders of the Tyro Christian Church report that a security incident last Sunday (Dec. 15) was handled efficiently and safely.

David Bycroft, minister, said rumors were floating around that the church had a bomb threat during church services, and that a gun was involved.

“Neither of these is true,” said Bycroft.

Bycroft said a young man came inside the front door of the church during the second worship service on Sunday, and shared some information with one of the check-in people.

The man then left the building and was not seen again.

That episode triggered some concern, and all doors to the building were immediately locked.

“An off-duty policeman who was in the church service was enlisted to oversee the hallway,” Bycroft said. “The county sheriff was called and they sent out two deputies as well.”

The Tyro Christian Church’s own security team kept watch over the children’s areas and the outside doors.

Bycroft said the church will remain at a heightened security level for the next few weeks.

“There was no threat made toward Tyro Christian Church or any individual,” Bycroft said.

“We praise God that there was no actual incident that would cause any harm.”


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Cherryvale mourns loss of high school senior

CHERRYVALE — Sadness befell the Cherryvale community and Cheryvale Middle-High School where news was announced early this morning (Friday) of the death of a high school senior due to a self-inflicted gunshot wound.


Labette County Sheriff Robert Sims confirmed the death of a 17-year-old male at his home at 19037 Anderson Road in rural Cherryvale shortly after 7 a.m., this morning.


The teenager was later identified by sources as Caleb Castilleja, a senior at Cherryvale High School. No further details were announced by Sims, other than to say no foul play was suspected.

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Caney man charged with embezzlement, falsifying tax returns

TULSA, Okla. — A Caney man has been charged with embezzlement and making false income tax returns.


Timothy Edward Crossman of Caney was charged Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Tulsa with one count of embezzling $79,010.89 during his tenure as a park ranger with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at the Skiatook Lake project office. The theft of money allegedly occurred between April 2006 through December 2012.


Crossman also was charged with not reporting the income he had allegedly embezzled on his federal income taxes from 2009 through 2012.


Danny C. Williams Sr., U.S. attorney for the Northern Oklahoma District, issued the charges on Monday. All other information about the case is sealed, according to the court docket.


Crossman is currently employed with the Montgomery County Conservation District.  Doug Blex, president of the Montgomery County Conservation District board of directors, said he was unaware of an investigation into Crossman when the Caney man was hired for the position he now holds. He said he planned to confer with the district’s legal counsel to determine the district’s next course of action in regard to Crossman’s employment.


As in all criminal cases, a person is presumed innocent until proven guilty or an admission of guilt.


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Prosecution: more time needed to file charges against Bennett

PARSONS — A Cherryvale man who is a suspect in a quadruple homicide in Parsons will have to wait no later than next Tuesday, Dec. 10 to learn of the charges against him.


Prosecutors in the Kansas Attorney General’s Office on Monday convinced Labette County Judge Robert J. Fleming to allow them until Dec. 10 — or perhaps sooner — to have formal charges filed against Bennett, who was arrested last Tuesday, Nov. 26 as a suspect in the deaths of Cami Umbarger, age 29, and her three children: Hollie Betts, age 9, Jaxon Betts, age 6, and Averie Betts, age 4.


The prosecutors cited the Thanksgiving holiday break as well as the “complicated nature” of the case as reasons for the additional time to have charges filed against Bennett. Fleming agreed with the attorneys’ request for additional time, noting that the charges could be filed prior to the next scheduled hearing, which is Tuesday, Dec. 10 in Oswego.

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Field Kindley prepares for state championship game


COFFEYVILLE — Field Kindley High School head football coach Murray Zogg had a pressing day on Monday — trying to prepare his troops for this Saturday’s class 4A state championship game while also trying to sneak in a day or so of family time for Thanksgiving — before the corner of his eye caught a slight sparkle from the FKHS trophy case as he walked through the school hallway.

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Cherryvale man sought in deaths of 4 people in Parsons


PARSONS –  The Parsons Police Department, the Kansas Bureau of Investigation and other law enforcement agencies are investigating the deaths of four individuals in Parsons. The deceased individuals are identified as Cami Umbarger, 29, and her three minor children.


Authorities are seeking a suspect, David Cornell Bennett, Jr., of Cherryvale, Kan.


Any criminal prosecution resulting from the investigation will be handled by the Kansas Attorney General’s Office at the request of the Labette County Attorney. No charges have been filed. Any charges that might arise from the investigation are merely accusations. Individuals are presumed innocent unless or until proven guilty.


The Kansas Attorney General’s Office and other involved agencies are bound by the Kansas Rules of Professional Conduct Rule 3.6, Trial Publicity and Rule 3.8, Special Responsibilities of a Prosecutor.

David Bennett Jr

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