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 V.21 No.24 | June 14 - 20, 2012 

Odds & Ends

Dateline: Austria

Apparently, obesity isn’t just dangerous in life, it’s also a hazard in death. Investigators now believe a mid-April blaze at a crematorium in the southeastern Austrian town of Graz was touched off when large amounts of burning fat from a 440-pound woman’s body blocked an air vent, causing the facility’s filter system to overheat. According to London’s Daily Mail, firefighters were able to contain the conflagration by shooting water through the crematorium’s vents. The damage, however, was extensive and shut the business down for several days. Fireman at the scene say the building’s interior was covered in layers of black, greasy soot. Officials in Austria are now considering a ban on extra large corpses after similar problems throughout Austria and Switzerland. According to the newspaper, Switzerland has built a special crematorium able to deal with the extra heat caused by larger bodies.

Dateline: Brazil

The O Povo newspaper in Fortaleza reports that a dead toddler came back to life at his own funeral, asked for a glass of water and then expired once again. On Friday, June 1, two-year-old Kelvin Santos stopped breathing and was declared officially dead from pneumonia at Abelardo Santos Hospital in the northern Brazilian town of Belém. His body was handed over to his parents, who held an open casket wake throughout the night. On Saturday morning, an hour before he was scheduled to be buried, witness report the boy sat up in his coffin and said to his father, “Daddy, can I have some water?” According to the father, Antonio Santos, “Everybody started to scream, we couldn’t believe our eyes. Then we thought a miracle had taken place and our boy had come back to life.” Unfortunately, according to Mr. Santos, his son’s reanimation was short-lived. Before the boy could be given a glass of water, he “just laid back down, the way he was. We couldn't wake him. He was dead again,” Mr. Santos said. The boy was rushed back to the hospital where he was declared dead for a second time. The burial was delayed for a short period but eventually took place at 5 p.m. on Saturday. Local police have launched an investigation.

Dateline: Connecticut

The Norwich Bulletin reports that a man accused of robbing a woman at knifepoint at the Mohegan Sun Casino will be pleading not guilty by reason of sleepwalking. Winston A. Riley, 27, of Bridgeport was arrested two hours after he allegedly pulled a knife on a casino patron in a parking garage elevator. The incident took place at 10:39 a.m. on Sunday, March 18. According to the 81-year-old female victim, Riley flashed the knife and tried to grab her purse. When she resisted, he allegedly cut the strap on her purse but fled without the bag as soon as the elevator doors opened. Casino surveillance cameras tracked his escape. Despite confessing to the crime after his arrest, Riley now says he actually woke up in the elevator and simply ran away in confusion and fright. Defense attorney Nicholas D’Amato says he has spoken to Riley’s family, who confirmed he has been a sleepwaker since childhood. “It is the first time we’ve encountered this,” D’Amato told the newspaper. “This is a legitimate medical condition.” Despite confidence in his client’s innocence, the attorney did admit, “This is not going to be an easy defense to present.” Based on his clean criminal record, a judge lowered Riley’s bail from $100,000 to $85,000. He is scheduled to reappear in court on July 17.

Dateline: South Carolina

A suspected residential burglar saved police the trouble of catching and arresting him when he fell down a flight of stairs and died. According to the Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Office, a home on South Blackstock Road in Greenville was undergoing extensive renovations when it was broken into by the unknown suspect. When a painter arrived to work on the home at about 8:30 a.m. on Thursday, June 7, he spotted broken glass and other signs of a break-in. The worker backed out of the home and called the owner, who phoned 911. Deputies arrived at the house at about 8:45 a.m. and soon located a man’s body at the foot of the basement stairs. There was no evidence anyone else had been in the house. Lt. Tony Ivey of the Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Office told WYFF-4 News that vacant homes are frequently targets of burglars looking to steal appliances, fixtures or copper wire. Copper was found in the alleged burglar’s back pocket. The coroner will perform an autopsy to confirm the cause of death, but officers believe he was killed when he fell down the stairs in the dark. “It’s an unfortunate accident that happened during the commission of a crime.”

Compiled by Devin D. O'Leary. Email your weird news to devin@alibi.com.
 
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