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Teen is 5th victim of South Carolina serial killer

Gaffney, S.C.

fifth death is blamed on serial killer

A teenage girl shot while helping her father in their family's small furniture and appliance store died Saturday, becoming the fifth victim of a suspected male serial killer terrorizing a small South Carolina community, authorities said. Abby Tyler, 15, died at a Spartanburg hospital after fighting for her life for two days, Cherokee County Coroner Dennis Fowler said. Tyler was wounded and her father was killed Thursday as they worked to close the Tyler Home Center near downtown Gaffney. An 83-year-old woman and her daughter were shot to death Wednesday, and a 63-year-old peach farmer was found dead at his home a week ago. County Sheriff Bill Blanton said all the victims were shot, but he would not say how the deaths were linked.

Vatican City

Vatican has deficit for second year

The Vatican said Saturday it posted a budget deficit for a second straight year, though the figures improved strongly from 2007. The Holy See's 2008 deficit was $1.28 million, compared to a loss of $12.8 million a year earlier. The Vatican said annual donations from churches worldwide, the so-called Peter's Pence, were down to almost $75.8 million from $79.8 million in 2007. Leading donors were the faithful in the United States, Italy and Germany. The Vatican has published the annual report since 1981.

New York

Hot dog champ retains his title

Joey Chestnut chomped down a record 68 hot dogs, winning his third straight Nathan's Famous Fourth of July International Hot Dog Eating Contest at Coney Island. Chestnut, 25, of San Jose, Calif., hoisted the American flag and then stood proudly like an Olympic athlete as The Star-Spangled Banner played following his 68 to 64½ dog victory over his archrival, six-time titleholder Takeru Kobayashi. "This is great," Chestnut told ESPN, which broadcast the 10-minute contest live. "After the second minute, I knew that my body was cooperating and it was going to be hard to beat me."

Newark, N.J.

TSA agent held after violation

A Transportation Security Administration agent was arrested at Newark Liberty International Airport after authorities say she avoided a preflight screening and boarded a plane. Authorities say Wanda Weems of Newark was detained Friday after she boarded a Continental Airlines flight bound for Houston. An airport spokesman said Saturday that an investigation found she was wanted on traffic-related warrants. The flight was delayed for more than an hour as each passenger was taken off the plane and screened again.

New York

Drug bust finds heroin in toys

A dozen people have been arrested, and 33 pounds of heroin worth $30 million and stuffed inside Build-A-Bear toys have been seized in a drug bust in the Bronx. The arrests were announced Saturday by the New York office of the Drug Enforcement Administration and city and state police. The authorities said the arrests broke up a drug ring that each week sold hundreds of thousands of small bags of drugs. They said the drugs were stamped with such brand names as Barack Obama, Swine Flu and Crime 360.

Times wires

Teen is 5th victim of South Carolina serial killer 07/04/09 [Last modified: Saturday, July 4, 2009 9:52pm]
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