Alibi V.13 No.49 • Dec 2-8, 2004 

Odds & Ends

Scott Rickson

Dateline: India—An army officer has been dismissed and another suspended after a court martial found them guilty of faking a bloody battle scene with a camera and a bottle of ketchup. An army spokesman said Col. H.S. Kohli took photos of civilians covered with ketchup and posing as corpses and then gave them to his senior officers as proof of dead separatist rebels in the revolt-torn northeastern state of Assam. “The colonel tried to use the photographs to back up his claim for a gallantry award,” the spokesman said. Unfortunately, the fraud was exposed when scrutiny of records following the colonel's claim showed no such deaths had ever occurred. “It was indeed bizarre to find him trying to claim a bravery award for the kills which in fact did not take place,” said the spokesman. Following the court martial hearing, the colonel lost his job and a major who conspired with his was suspended for five years. The incident, dubbed the “saucy scandal” by local media, is the latest incident to shake the Indian army. Last May, India's Defense Ministry said Indian troops staged fake battles on the world's highest battleground on the Siachen glacier and made false claims about killing Pakistani soldiers in a bid to win medals.

Dateline: Latvia—A doctor called to the deathbed of an 87-year-old man declared the octogenarian dead of “old age,” clearly failing to notice the 45 stab wounds on the man's body. The dead man's wife had called the doctor to their house in Riga, but according to local media was “too shocked” to tell him what had happened. The doctor's misdiagnosis was revealed when workers at a funeral parlor in the Latvian capital began to prepare the body for cremation and discovered the 45 stab wounds. Police are now questioning the unnamed couple's 33-year-old neighbor in connection with the murder.

Dateline: England—Travelodge motel is making sure there's plenty of room at the inn for Joseph and Mary during this year's holiday season. Couples named Joseph and Mary will be given a free night's stay over Christmas, provided they can furnish proof of ID “We are trying to make up for the hotel industry not having any rooms left on Christmas Eve 2,004 years ago,” said Sandy Leckie, manager of the Travelodge hotel in London's Covent Garden. “Our hotel is definitely more comfortable than a stable,” added Leckie.

Dateline: New Hampshire—A Nashua School District driving instructor is due to appear in Merrimack District Court Dec. 1 after being charged with drunk driving. According to state police, Arthur Desmeules, 66, was on his way to teach a high school driving class in a government vehicle when he ran off the Everett Turnpike in Merrimack and hit a post. A trooper arrested him for drunk driving after responding to a call about a disabled vehicle. The car had four flat tires and damage to the passenger side. Desmeules is currently free on bond.

Dateline: New York—A woman who is being sued by American Express for posing as a Saudi Princess and stealing thousands of dollars has countersued the company for $2 million, claiming that she was mentally incompetent when she opened the account and the company should have known. Antoinette Millard, 40, is currently free on $100,000 bail and awaiting trial on attempted grand larceny charges. The charges stem from alleged scams in which Millard posed as a Saudi Arabian princess and a Victoria's Secret model. Millard, a former vice president at the Brown Brothers Harriman investment bank, has had assets of more than $951,000 frozen for unpaid charges on her rare, high-limit Centurion “black” card. According to her countersuit, filed in Manhattan's State Supreme Court last week, Millard “was suffering from anorexia, depression, panic attacks, head tumors and by reason of such illnesses was mentally incompetent and unable of executing or making any agreement.” Millard's lawsuit goes on to claim that American Express “knew or should have known that [Millard] was acting impulsively and irrationally at the time she entered the contract.” In addition to her credit card woes, Millard is facing charges of insurance fraud for selling off some $262,000 worth of jewelry and then telling her insurance company that it had been stolen. Millard faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted on the insurance fraud charge.

Dateline: Massachusettes—A Worcester man was charged with stabbing two of his relatives at the Thanksgiving dinner table after they criticized his table manners. Police said the fight broke out last Thursday when Gonzalo Ocasio, 49, and his 18-year-old son, Gonzalo Jr., complained that 24-year-old Frank Palacious was picking at the turkey with his fingers, instead of slicing off pieces with a knife. Palacious, described by police as an uncle, allegedly responded to the etiquette lesson by stabbing both of his relatives with a carving knife. Ocasio Jr. suffered stab wounds to the chest, back and right side. His father was treated for a stab wound in the arm. Palacious is now charged with domestic assault and assault with intent to murder.

Compiled by Devin D. O'Leary. E-mail your weird news to