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Police narrow search for prison escapees



Published: Sat, February 2, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



Police narrow searchfor prison escapees

TERRAL, Okla. -- Police looking for four Texas prison escapees focused on southern Oklahoma late Friday after tying them to a burglary and briefly chasing a stolen pickup truck believed to be carrying the suspects.

A sheriff's dispatcher said the chase took place on rural roads in Jefferson County, just across the Red River from Texas and only about 30 miles from the jail they escaped from Monday. Authorities eventually lost track of the truck.

The escapees include two convicted killers and two others awaiting trial on murder charges. Authorities said they believed the four were armed with a pistol stolen from an area home Friday, along with the truck.

Police helicopters and patrol cars continued the search late Friday, and authorities set up a roadblock in the nearby town of Ryan.

"There's a lot of activity, a lot of searching going on around here," Ryan Fire Chief David Underwood said.

The inmates broke out of the Montague County (Texas) Jail on Monday, overpowering a guard with a homemade knife. Authorities say they drove off in the guard's sport utility vehicle.

All the fugitives are from the region. Authorities identified them as Curtis Gambill, 24, of Terral; Joshua Bagwell, 23, of Waurika; and Chrystal Gale Soto, 22, and Charles Jordan, 30, both of Bowie, Texas.

Daughter chargedin death of biophysicist

LEESBURG, Va. -- The daughter of a biophysicist was charged Friday with homicide in the death of her father, who was stabbed last year with a sword, the sheriff's office said.

Clara Schwartz, 21, was arrested on the campus of James Madison University in Harrisonburg, where she is a student, the sheriff's office said.

Three others, whom authorities have described as acquaintances of the victim's daughter, were charged with murder shortly after the Dec. 8 slaying of Robert M. Schwartz, 57. He was found dead at his isolated farmhouse with an X carved in the back of his neck.

Documents recovered through search warrants show Schwartz discussed the planning and killing of her father with at least one of the suspects, the sheriff's department said in a news release.

The department declined to comment further, but said Clara Schwartz would be returned to Loudoun County and go before a magistrate Friday night. A message left Friday after business hours at the office of prosecutor Robert D. Anderson was not immediately returned.

Unemployment ratefalls to 5.6 percent

WASHINGTON -- Nearly 1 million discouraged people suspended their job searches in January, producing an unexpected drop in the nation's unemployment rate.

Even though there are mounting signs of an economic recovery, economists believe the rate will rise again as cautious companies delay rehiring laid-off workers.

The jobless rate dipped to 5.6 percent, a 0.2-percentage-point decrease from December, the Labor Department reported Friday. But that occurred because the labor force shrank by 924,000 -- not because employment went up.

As a result, the government's official unemployment figure, which counts only those actively looking for jobs, fell to 7.9 million in January.

"People were so discouraged that they just stopped looking for a job and left the labor force, which is not a positive thing, and that understated the unemployment rate," said Stuart Hoffman, chief economist at PNC Financial Services Group. "It will take a while for the recovery to reach Main Street in the form of more jobs."

Economists said the unemployment rate, considered a lagging economic indicator, will resume rising in the months ahead.

Long-living French

PARIS -- Far too many French die prematurely from cancer and other diseases, but those who make it to 65 tend to go on living for years, according to a government health report released Friday.

A 65-year-old woman in France today can expect to live another 20 years, and a man of the same age another 10, according to the study, French Health 2002. Those life expectancy rates are the highest in the 15-nation European Union.

For children born in 2000, girls can expect to live 83 years and boys 75 years, Liberation quoted the report as saying.

However, the report said the risk of premature death -- defined as occurring before age 65 -- for men in France was among the highest in Europe.

"Premature death is a top public health problem in France," the report said.

Premature death is 2.5 times higher for men than women, with cancer -- in many cases, induced by smoking -- being cited as a main cause.

Associated Press




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