Alibi V.27 No.18 • May 3-9, 2018 

Odds & Ends

Odds and Ends

Dateline: Maine

Police mistakenly confiscated a dead man's ashes, thinking it was heroin. According to Central Maine, officers with the Kennebec County Sheriff’s Office arrived at the scene of a car wreck last week in Manchester, Maine, after a 2006 Chevrolet Impala had driven off the road and crashed into a utility pole before landing in a ditch. Officers reported that the driver fell unconscious while reaching for papers in his glove compartment, leading them to believe he was under the influence of narcotics. A search of the vehicle was conducted, and police collected what they believed to be two bags of heroin. The bags were returned to Kevin Curtis—the vehicle's owner—about 48 hours later, when tests showed that the powder was actually the cremated remains of his father, who died in 2013. Curtis was reportedly transporting the remains in his car while waiting for an urn he purchased to be delivered. The man driving the car at the time of the accident, Jess Legendre allegedly borrowed the vehicle from Curtis for a trip to the grocery store. After falling unconscious, authorities were able to revive him by using Narcan, a medication that counteracts opioid overdose, and is said to only affect those with opioids in their system. Curtis has said Legendre was tired after working a 20-hour shift. Curtis also claims that he was unaware that Legendre's license had been suspended for being a habitual offender. Legendre was charged with operating a vehicle after habitual offender revocation and falsifying physical evidence. He was not charged with any drug-related offenses.

Dateline: Alaska

A victim of repeated stabbings continued to deliver newspapers on his route despite injuries and profuse bleeding. KTVA Alaska reports that authorities were called to an apartment building where residents said they'd found bloodied copies of the Anchorage Daily News and a blood trail last week. Police were able to obtain surveillance video from the apartment complex which appeared to show a newspaper delivery person covered in blood. Authorities contacted the newspaper and were led to the man's home, where he answered the door in an injured state. Police reports say he was unable to communicate how he had been assaulted, and it was initially believed that he had been attacked by a dog. Once at the hospital, it was determined that he was suffering from multiple stab wounds. After being treated, the victim told police he had been attacked by three white men before he “continued on his bike to deliver newspapers,” according to the police report. It's unclear if the man was a victim of robbery. Anchorage police are urging residents in the area to immediately call 911 if they've been injured in an assault.

Dateline: Florida

Authorities have accused a man of kicking swans and a sleeping duck while “practicing karate.” Last week, police were called to Lake Eola park in Orlando, Fla., after several witnesses claimed to have seen a man practicing karate while attacking a number of swans. According to News 6 in Orlando, witnesses saw Rocco Mantella kick two swans in the head and another in the body. Mantella also allegedly kicked a duck. One witness said Mantella realized she had seen the attack and began laughing before continuing to attack nearby birds. Police reports say the kicks were made “as hard as possible” and were intended to harm the animals. Mantella was arrested by Orlando Police on a felony aggravated animal cruelty charge. He was also arrested earlier in the month for trespassing at Disney Springs. Those charges were dropped.

Dateline: Maryland

An ethical debate has erupted after it was revealed that scientists were able to keep the brains of pigs alive outside of their bodies as part of a study. Details of the case were publicly presented at a National Institutes of Health (NIH) meeting held in Bethesda, Md., last month. Yale University neuroscientist Nenad Sestan told those gathered that his research team experimented on between 100 and 200 pig brains obtained from a slaughterhouse. The team was able to restore circulation in the brains using a system of pumps, heaters and artificial blood, reportedly keeping some alive for as long as 36 hours. According to Sestan, the procedure is likely to work for any species, including primates. The researchers found no evidence the brains regained consciousness, but Sestan raised his own concerns over whether the practice is ethically sound if the subjects are found to be conscious. Last week, Sestan and a number of his colleagues published a commentary in the journal Nature, calling for guidelines and regulations governing research into the development of brain organoids—human brain tissue grown from stem cells in a laboratory—and any research involving human brain tissue. Concerning his own research involving decapitated pig brains, Sestan told the NIH that the brains could be kept alive indefinitely and attempts could be made to restore consciousness. But the team was uncomfortable attempting either until ethical concerns were addressed.

Compiled by Joshua Lee. Email your weird news to josh@alibi.com.