Body of 12-year-old found;
uncle accused in sex ring
The body of a missing 12-year-old girl was found Wednesday, hours after documents surfaced that accused her uncle of planning to initiate her into a child sex ring, authorities said.
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Brooke Bennett's body was found near her uncle's home, said State Police Director Col. James Baker.
The girl's uncle, Michael Jacques, who has been in custody since Sunday on sexual assault charges involving another underage girl, is to be charged in federal court with kidnapping, police said.
Bennett was last seen alive with Jacques at a convenience store June 25.
Earlier Wednesday, the FBI said a 14-year-old girl told investigators she was present on June 25 when Jacques, 42, tricked Bennett into thinking she was going to a party and took her to his Randolph home to be initiated into a sex ring. Associated Press
The Pentagon's inspector general is resigning after just over a year in the job and at a time when defense spending has skyrocketed but personnel shortfalls in the oversight office have strained its ability to probe allegations of waste, fraud and abuse. Claude Kicklighter, 74, took over as the military's top investigator in April 2007. He'll be replaced by Gordon Heddell, the Labor Department's inspector general since January 2001. The Defense Department announced the changes Wednesday. Associated Press
The Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield has reached an $8.5 million settlement with insurance companies to pay claims filed by people who were sexually abused by priests. A spokesman for the diocese said $3.5 million will be used to pay back the diocese for a portion of the $7.7 million it paid in 2004 to settle sexual abuse claims filed by 47 people. The remaining $5 million will be used to establish a settlement fund for 61 other victims. The victims are expected to receive amounts ranging from $5,000 to $200,000 after completing an arbitration hearing. Associated Press
Park officials have ordered a swimming ban on all of Chicago's beaches because of a possible seiche, or large wave. Seiches are caused when strong, sustained winds cause large amounts of water to move from one part of a lake to another. The National Weather Service says a storm front crossed over the lake Wednesday afternoon, causing a 2-foot drop of water levels on the east side of the lake. Officials say that as a result, a 2-foot rise or better is possible on the west side. Associated Press
Prince part of crew that
made major cocaine bust
The British Royal Navy ship on which Prince William is serving made a major cocaine bust in the north Atlantic, Britain's defense ministry said Wednesday.
The prince helped his crewmates on HMS Iron Duke intercept a speedboat northeast of Barbados on Saturday. He was aboard a helicopter attached to the frigate that spotted a speedboat and grew suspicious that such a small vessel should be so far from land, the ministry said.
The helicopter crew informed the ship's commanding officer, and the ship gave chase.
U.S. Coast Guard officials working on the frigate boarded the speedboat and found 45 bales of cocaine weighing 1,900 pounds, the ministry said. Associated Press
A farmer has learned a harsh lesson about the dangers of smoking. While he ducked into a convenience store to buy cigarettes, his parked tractor and its load of 25 tons of potatoes went rolling down a hill – and over a parked car. Police say the brake came loose while the farmer was in the store, and the tractor and its two trailers barreled 30 yards downhill before slamming into the parked car and crushing it against a wall. Police in the western German village of Viersen said Wednesday that the car was a “total loss.” The tractor and trailers, however, emerged unscathed. Associated Press