Break in Iowa case leads to a Stanislaus donation

jjardine@modbee.comMay 20, 2013 

    alternate textJeff Jardine
    Title: Local columnist
    Coverage areas: People, issues, the community
    Bio: Jeff Jardine joined The Bee's staff in 1988 after a decade at the Stockton Record. He covered sports before moving into news in 1996 and became the Local Columnist in 2003. He graduated from University of the Pacific in 1979, majoring in communications and history.
    Recent stories written by Jeff
    On Twitter: @jeffjardine57

From the emails, voice mails and other trusted sources:

CASH ADVANCE — Last week, I received an email from the prosecutor's office in Floyd County, Iowa.

The department's legal secretary wanted to know how to contact to the Carole Sund-Carrington Memorial Reward Foundation, which provided rewards in missing persons cases from shortly after the Yosemite tourists' murders in 1999 until founders Francis and Carol Carrington decided to dissolve the organization in 2009.

The county wanted to return $300 in unclaimed reward money it said the foundation had provided in the case of Evelyn Miller, a 5-year-old Iowa girl found dead in July 2005.

"Three hundred doesn't sound right," said Kim Petersen, who ran the foundation until 2007 and issued the $5,000 reward in the case. In fact, she said, all of the foundation's rewards were either for $5,000 or $10,000 and were never paid up front. They were set aside in a reserve account and not paid until an arrest was made, Petersen said.

Last September, authorities in Iowa charged a 33-year-old inmate with first-degree murder and sexual abuse in Miller's case.

The suspect, already in prison on child pornography and drug convictions, allegedly told other inmates specific details about the case. Those inmates passed the information onto detectives, who made the arrest. Other criminals don't qualify for reward money, and the reward offer already had expired anyway, Petersen said.

So, about that $300 …

Carla Castro, who administrates Crime Stoppers, called the Iowa agency to clarify. It was profitable call. Indeed, the foundation didn't send money to Floyd County when it made the reward offer, nor after the arrest in September.

No matter, Castro said. Iowa is sending a check anyway — good ol' Midwest values at their finest.

"They are going to make a donation of $300 to the Stanislaus Area Crime Stoppers fund," Castro said. "It doesn't sound accurate, as Kim said, as to the amounts paid out previously etc., and I don't believe (the foundation) sent money in advance for payment. But (the Iowans) decided to just do it as a donation for cases we are working now and in future."

FATHER (TEE) TIME — Once again, Marion Nelson will celebrate his birthday Saturday with a round of golf in Escalon. Wonder if he'll be able to shoot his age? He'll be 103.

Nelson toured the county fair circuits as a stunt pilot in the 1930s and worked as a civilian flight instructor for the Army Air Corps during World War II.

His golf outing will be followed by birthday party at Standiford Place beginning at 1:45 p.m.

AUTHOR! AUTHOR! — "From Soldier to Airman," by Don Risen of Modesto, is available on Amazon. And Modesto's Sarah Jamila Stevenson will unveil "Underneath," her second novel, June 8 at 3 p.m. at the Modesto Library.

INSTITUTIONAL MEMORY — The ongoing investigation into McGuire Cremation and Funeral Services isn't the first such probe of a Modesto funeral business. Just eight months apart in the mid-1970s, mortuary owners Harold F. Carmody and Gordon O. Jaroch were convicted in separate cases of grand theft involving prepaid funeral plans. Jaroch went to state prison for stealing $45,520 from customers. Carmody got a year of county jail time and four years of probation for 14 counts totaling $35,000.

And in 1997, some Modestans were among the 5,000 or so those who learned their loved ones' ashes were stored in cardboard boxes in metal sheds in Contra Costa County instead of being spread over land and sea by Vieira Flying Service. Owner Al Vieira, who committed suicide after the discovery, had neither a business license nor pilot's license, yet had been hired by scores of funeral homes throughout Northern California to spread cremated remains.

Jeff Jardine's column appears Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays in Local News. He can be reached at, @jeffjardine57 on Twitter or at (209) 578-2383.

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