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Substitute high school teacher arrested for allegedly running ‘fight club’

A substitute teacher at a Montville, Connecticut, high school has been arrested for allegedly running a “fight club” at the school.

WFSB reported Thursday that Ryan Fish, 23, has been charged by police with four counts of reckless endangerment as well as two counts of risk of injury to a minor, and second-degree breach of peace.

>> Read more trending news 

An investigation started by the Montville Police Department in December 2017 found that Fish was supervising the fights, which happened in October 2017, in the classroom. 

BuzzFeed News reported that, according to an arrest warrant it obtained, Fish is seen encouraging students to “Engage in the fighting behavior” at Montville High School. The warrant contains profanity in descriptions of some of the incidents.

Four victims, two 16-year-old males, a 15-year-old male a 14-year-old male and one 16-year-old male witness are included in the arrest warrant.

WFSB reported that the four victims told police about the fights.

According to the warrant, police spoke with Assistant Principal Tatiana Patton Dec. 15, who told police that video surfaced of two kids slap fighting each other in the classroom where Fish was acting as a substitute math teacher.

“I would let them be teenagers and let them get their energy out,” Fish told police, according to the warrant. “I will admit that I did at one point egg them on,” he said.

“The truth is I’m an idiot and wanted to befriend them. I’m immature.”

Patton said she met with Fish and Principal Jeffrey Theodoss about the fights. Fish, the warrant said, “responded ‘boys will be boys,’ that he grew up in the country and ‘boys do stuff like that.’” Fish’s employment was terminated Oct. 10, the warrant said.

“As soon as we learned of his involvement in this, we immediately terminated his employment,” Montville Public Schools Superintendent Brian Levesque told BuzzFeed News. "Student safety is our highest priority each and every day. We believe our staff does a great job of protecting the safety of our students each and every day. This situation was very unfortunate, but not indicative of our regular operations.”

The Hartford Courant reported that Fish was arraigned in Norwich Superior Court Thursday. Police set his bail at $70,000. A court clerk said he was released after his arraignment and is to return to court May 8. 

State child advocate Sarah Healy Eagan said she is following up with the state Department of Children and Families to see how it is responding to the school district’s “apparent failure to follow the mandated reporter law,” the Courant reported.

Day care worker arrested after allegedly smoking meth on job

Authorities said a woman in Montana exposed children to methamphetamine while using the drug at a YMCA day care center where she worked.

>> Read more trending news 

Autumn Sienna Heinz, 30, was arrested Tuesday and charged with criminal endangerment, criminal mischief and criminal possession of drugs, according to the charging document released by the Missoula County Detention Facility.

Approximately 12 children were in Heinz's care at the day care facility, KHQ reported. Heinz is accused of smoking meth in a laundry room and an employee bathroom, the latter in which she exhaled into an exhaust van, exposing the children and other staff members to the toxic smoke, KHQ reported. 

The day care is closed for cleaning, which could cost up to $80,000, KHQ reported. 

Police officers helped sneak massive drug shipment into Memphis, affidavit says 

Two Tennessee police officers face felony drug charges after they were arrested during an elaborate undercover sting, according to an affidavit.

>> Read more trending news

Kevin Coleman and Terrion Bryson of the Memphis Police Department are charged with possession of a controlled substance with intent to manufacture, deliver, and sell -- along with criminal attempt felony and possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony.

In February, the Memphis Police Department’s Organized Crime Unit received information that Coleman and Bryson were stealing money and drugs, according to an affidavit of complaint.

Investigators said the officers conducted two traffic stops while on duty and stole money from an undercover officer.

On April 5, Bryson began contacting an undercover officer about protecting a shipment of drugs that would be brought into Memphis, according to the affidavit.

Less than a week later, the officers told the undercover officer they wanted $10,000 to “offer security for the shipment of narcotics.” The pair then agreed to protect 2.5 kilograms of heroin, according to the documents.

During the negations, Coleman, while on duty, allegedly threatened physical harm to the undercover officer’s family if “the arrangement was a setup.”

Eventually, they agreed on a $9,000 fee for the officers to protect the shipment of drugs being brought into the city, according to the affidavit. They allegedly wanted $4,500 up front. Once the drugs got to Memphis they would protect them from being seized and they’d get the other $4,500, according to the affidavit.

On April 12, $4,000 was put into a vehicle in the parking lot of a Walmart in Memphis. Bryson came to the location, went into the vehicle and took the money as payment to protect the heroin, according to the affidavit.

Later that day, Bryson was off duty and Coleman was on duty driving a police car when they met the undercover officer, who they thought had the shipment of heroin. The two escorted the “shipment” to a storage unit, where they were given another $5,000, according to the affidavit.

The two officers left and went to another location, where they were arrested in the middle of a meeting.

Arresting officers recovered $5,020 from Bryson’s vehicle. Coleman told investigators he thought they were protecting three kilograms of heroin, according to the affidavit.

Memphis Police Association President Michael Williams said it’s a sad day when a police officer turns to crime. 

"Even if you look at social media you have a lot of officer speaking out against this because they are out here working hard,” Williams said.

Williams says the accusations the officers are facing is a disgrace to the badge. "You can have a hundred attaboys and one boo-boo, something like this and it sets you back if not months but years of hard work,” Williams said.

Bryson and Coleman have been relieved of duty pending this investigation, police officials said.

Both will be in court Monday morning.

Fugitive nabbed after 37 years when mom’s obituary lists his alias

An Oklahoma fugitive was caught in Texas Thursday morning after 37 years on the run, and law enforcement officials are crediting an obituary with leading them to him. 

Stephen Michael Paris was 22 years old in 1981 -- and 19 months into a nine-year sentence on a drug conviction -- when he escaped from the Jess Dunn Correctional Center in Muskogee. According to the U.S. Marshals Service, the case was adopted by agents there about six weeks ago.

>> Read more trending news

Agents discovered an obituary for Paris’ mother, Joann Rahimi, who lived in Houston before her death on Easter Sunday. The obituary lists Rahimi’s family, including a son, Steve Chavez.

They tracked down the name and found that Paris, now 58, was living and working under that alias in Houston, the Marshals Service reported. He was taken into custody without incident Thursday at his office.

A fingerprint match confirmed his identity. 

911 dispatcher placed on leave following teen’s suffocation death inside van

A Cincinnati 911 operator who took a call Tuesday afternoon from a teen being crushed by a seat in his minivan has been placed on leave for not relaying a description of the van to officers searching for the 16-year-old.

Kyle Jacob Plush called 911 twice while he slowly suffocated to death. Cincinnati Police Chief Eliot Issac said Thursday that he has initiated an internal investigation into everyone involved in handling the calls, but that dispatcher Amber Smith has been placed on administrative leave. 

Smith was placed on leave because dispatch records show that she did not relay to responding officers the make, model and color of Plush’s vehicle. The teen told her that he was trapped in a gold Honda Odyssey in the parking lot of Seven Hills School, where he was a student. 

City police officers searched the multiple parking areas on campus but did not see anything suspicious. A Hamilton County sheriff’s deputy who also checked the school’s parking lots saw a van, but did not spot anyone inside.

>> Related story: ‘Tell my mom that I love her if I die,’ teen pleads as van seat fatally crushes him

Issac said that investigators believe the van the deputy saw was Plush’s vehicle.  

Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office officials dispute that belief. 

“That’s simply not the case,” Chief Deputy Mark Schoonover said in a radio appearance Friday morning, WCPO in Cincinnati reported. “He did look into some vehicles. He looked into a van, but he never looked into the victim’s vehicle. He never located that.”

The chief said that a formal interview with Smith had not yet been conducted. He hoped that interview would help shed light on what went wrong. 

“The one thing that we do know is that on that second 911 call, something has gone terribly wrong,” Issac said during a news conference, which was streamed live on Facebook by WCPO. “This young man was crying out for help, and we weren’t able to get that information to the officers on the scene, and we need to find out why. 

“I’m not certain at this point if we’re talking about an equipment malfunction or some type of other user error, possibly, but we’re going to do an investigation to get those answers.” 

WCPO reported that officials are also looking into whether a move the 911 center was undergoing on the day of Plush’s death affected the ability to handle calls. 

Issac said that Smith did press a tone that indicated she was having trouble on the line. The tone could be heard in the audio of the 911 calls and dispatch traffic, according to reporters who have obtained the recordings. Local media have not made the audio public due to the graphic nature of Plush’s calls. 

WLWT reported that the dispatch report, a copy of which the news station obtained, shows numbers designating latitude and longitude, which police officials said are generated by a caller’s phone. Putting the numbers into a Google map dropped a pin almost exactly where Plush’s body was later found inside his van. 

Police officials said investigators are probing why the numbers were not mapped by 911 dispatchers, including Smith. 

Smith was honored last year for helping a 9-year-old girl trapped in a car with her parents, who had overdosed on heroin, WLWT reported. She found the girl by pinging the cellphone the child used to call for help.

It was unclear why that method was not used to find Plush. 

A reporter at the news conference asked the chief about the lag time between when Plush initially called 911 and when it was responded to by a dispatcher – more than four minutes later. 

“Is that a correct reading of the report, that it took that long before it got in the queue, before it was answered?” the reporter asked off-camera. “Isn’t that a long time if that is correct?”

“That is something that we want to find an answer to,” Issac said. “I don’t know right now, but that is something that is going to be examined.”

Hamilton County Sheriff Jim Neil has ordered an investigation into his department’s handling of the calls. County prosecutor Joe Deters has also launched a comprehensive investigation into what led to Plush’s death. 

Plush, who was on the school tennis team, had a match after school the day he died. Investigators believe he was reaching for his tennis gear over the third-row bench seat in the van when the seat tipped backward and trapped him, upside down, in the hatch area with the seat digging into his chest. 

He used his iPhone’s voice command to call for help, indicating that he was unable to dial and speak directly into the phone. He could be heard calling for Siri multiple times during his second 911 call. 

The Washington Post, which obtained the audio of his calls, reported that his cries to Siri were the last thing recorded in his second call for help. 

“Hey, Siri. Hey, Siri,” Plush repeated over and over, the Post noted

Investigators believe his position away from his cellphone it impossible for Plush to hear the people answering his frantic calls. Smith also indicated in conversation captured on the dispatch audio that it was difficult to hear the teen, who she said sounded like he was far away from the phone. 

Plush also suffered from spinal problems and other medical conditions, according to WCPO. It was not clear if those issues contributed to his inability to free himself from his entrapment. 

A recall last year on seats in some Honda Odysseys, which concerned a failure of the second-row seats to properly latch, does not appear to apply to the Plush family’s minivan. The recall was for vans from 2011 to 2017.

The family’s Odyssey is a 2004, according to Honda. The Post reported that a company spokesman said there have been no recalls for the model Kyle Plush died in. 

Issac on Thursday provided a clearer timeline of what happened in the hours before Plush was found dead by his father, who located his body about six hours after the teen first called 911. 

Plush initially called 911 at 3:14 p.m., screaming for help and telling a dispatcher that he was trapped in his van in a parking lot at the school. 

“The caller said they were unable to hear the call-taker and repeatedly yelled for help,” Issac said. “There was also loud noise and banging that could be heard in the background on the initial 911 call.”

Plush was gasping for breath when he sought help. 

“I can’t hear you,” Plush told the dispatcher, according to the Post. “I’m in desperate need of help. I’m gonna die here.”

Because Plush could not hear the dispatcher, he could not answer the questions she was asking him. The call lasted just under three minutes before it disconnected, Issac said.

The dispatcher tried to call Plush back, but the call went to his voicemail, Issac said. 

“Hello, this is Kyle. I’m not available right now. I’ll get back to you as soon as I can,” the outgoing message said. 

Officers were dispatched at 3:21 p.m. to check the school’s multiple parking lots for someone in distress. Two officers arrived at the school five minutes later. 

They searched in vain for about 11 minutes before closing out the call and returning to service. 

Plush called 911 for the second time at 3:35 p.m., Issac said. Smith was the dispatcher who took the second call, during which Plush reiterated that he was trapped in his vehicle and could not hear the dispatcher. 

By this time, the teen had been suffocating for at least 21 minutes. 

Plush sounded weaker the second time he called for help, the Post reported. Creaking could be heard in the background as he struggled to breathe. 

“I probably don’t have much time left, so tell my mom that I love her if I die,” the teen said, according to the audio. “This is not a joke, This is not a joke. I’m trapped inside my gold Holda Odyssey van in the sophmore parking lot of Seven Hills (unintelligible).  

“Send officers immediately. I’m almost dead.”  

Issac said that the city police officers searching for him were still at the scene as Plush tried in vain to summon help. 

At 3:44 p.m., seven minutes after the Cincinnati officers left the parking lot, a Hamilton County deputy working a traffic detail called the dispatch office and said the officers had told him about the search. The deputy said he checked a van in the parking lot, but did not see anyone in it. 

“He then requested any additional information that was available so that he could do a secondary check of the area,” Issac said

Dispatch audio shows that Smith did speak to the deputy at the scene. A Sheriff’s Office spokesman said Friday, however, that the deputy received very little information from the dispatchers about what type of van to look for. 

“No color or anything. It was a van,” David Daugherty said, according to WCPO. “A van could be a box van, a minivan, it’s pretty vague. We’re very sorry this happened. It’s very sad, but I believe that the Cincinnati PD officers on the scene and our deputy did everything they could with the information they had.”

>> Read more trending news

Issac said that Plush’s parents, Jill and Ronald Plush, received a phone call around 8 p.m. from a classmate of their son, who said that he’d seen Kyle walking toward the family’s van after school, but that Kyle had not shown up for his tennis match that afternoon. 

Jill Plush called 911. 

“My son never came home from school,” she said, according to Fox19. “We thought he was at a tennis match, and he never came home from school.”

The Plushes also used the phone-finding app for their son’s iPhone to trace him. The app indicated that he was in the Seven Hills School student parking lot.

That is where Ron Plush found his son inside the unlocked van, unresponsive and not breathing.

The Post reported that a passerby called 911 just before 9 p.m. saying that a man was running around the parking lot, screaming, “Call 911!” A night shift worker at the school also called for help, saying that he was with the boy’s father and that the teen was “turned over in his seat and stuck.”

“He’s been there for a while,” the caller said. 

Officers were dispatched to the scene at 8:59 p.m., Issac said. 

“Upon (officers’) arrival, they attempted life-saving measures, but were unable to revive Mr. Plush,” Issac said

Issac offered his deepest sympathy to the Plush family.

“This is an extremely tragic incident, and we want to convey that our thoughts and prayers go out to their family,” the chief said. 

Plush’s friends, classmates and teachers are reeling from the death of the boy that his elementary school principal described as “creative, vibrant and kind.” Patty Normille, head of Mercy Montessori, hosted a community prayer gathering for the teen Thursday night. 

WCPO reported that Normille described the boy as a “small guy with a big personality.” Despite his spinal problems, which limited his mobility, Plush loved sports and was on the school’s swim team. 

At his first swim meet, the other children were hesitant to enter the cold water, but Plush dove in, she said. 

He took that spirit with him to Seven Hills, where his sport was tennis. The mother of a friend of his wrote on Facebook that the match he failed to show up for was to be his first.

Jackie Taggart-Boyd said her son, Spencer, described his friend as the “most positive person he ever met.”

“I can tell you that Spencer spoke of Kyle often,” Taggart-Boyd wrote. “I only met him a couple of times, but every time Spencer told me a Kyle story, he ended it with, ‘I LOVE Kyle!’”

A Seven Hills School spokesperson said in a statement that Plush started attending the school in the sixth grade. 

“He was a young man of keen intelligence, good humor and great courage, and this whole community feels this loss very deeply,” the statement read. 

Counselors were on hand at the school to help students, faculty and staff deal with their loss. 

Plush leaves behind his parents, younger sister and a host of other relatives. Mourners offered love and sympathy to his family in the guest book with his online obituary

“I knew Kyle as a small boy and remember his constant smile and his absolute zest for life,” Dori Dreisbach wrote. “He wore a back brace when I knew him, but that did not stop him from playing and exploring with all of the other children. May God bring you peace and may your precious memories of Kyle bring you some measure of comfort.”

Another woman, Olivia Canada, wrote that the teen always had a special place in her heart.

“I always loved our chats at NatureCamp at Stanbery Park,” Canada wrote. “No camper could ever love nature and the outdoors as Kyle did.”

Condolences also poured in from strangers. Maureen Tyrrell wrote that she had never left a condolence message to someone she didn’t know before, but that the teen’s story touched her heart.

“I am a stranger, but please know that my heart is full of sadness to hear about the loss of your beautiful son,” Tyrrell wrote. “It sounds like he was a bright light in this world and touched many with his kindness, a rarity among 16year-olds. I am sure you will honor his memory by carrying his goodness, compassion and love for life throughout the rest of your lives.”

Plush’s visitation will be held Sunday afternoon at T.P. White & Sons Funeral Home in Cincinnati, with his funeral scheduled for Monday morning at St. Rose Church, the obituary said

Trump pardons former Dick Cheney aide Scooter Libby

President Donald Trump on Friday pardoned Scooter Libby, who served as chief of staff for former Vice President Dick Cheney.

>> READ MORE: Trump pardons Scooter Libby: Who is he and what did he do | MORE

First hearing set for Trump attorney Michael Cohen after raid

Lawyers for President Donald Trump and his personal attorney, Michael Cohen, appeared in court Friday morning for the first hearing following a recent FBI raid on Cohen’s home and office.

>> READ MORE: Trump allies fear investigators seized Cohen recordings in raid: reportsFBI sought records related to Trump 'Access Hollywood' tape in Cohen raid: reportsFBI raids office of Donald Trump’s longtime attorney Michael CohenWho is Michael Cohen, personal attorney to Donald Trump?MORE

Trump allies fear investigators seized Cohen recordings in raid: reports

President Donald Trump’s longtime personal attorney, Michael Cohen, would sometimes tape conversations he had with associates, leaving some worried that investigators might have seized the recordings during a raid earlier this week on his hotel and office, according to multiple reports.

>> Read more trending news

Cohen kept the recordings as digital files that he would replay for colleagues, The Washington Post reported, citing unidentified sources. The newspaper earlier reported that the attorney’s computers and phones were among the items seized in the raid, which was made public Monday.

>> Related: Trump attorney Michael Cohen to appear in court after raid

Two unidentified former Trump campaign officials told CNN that Cohen was known to have been taping conversations he had with people in his Trump Tower Office.

"It's one of the first things people entering Trump world would be told: Don't have conversations in his office,” a former campaign official told CNN. “He's recording it.”

In some recorded conversations, Cohen and others discussed the campaign and the media, CNN reported. It was not immediately clear whether Cohen recorded his conversations with Trump.

>> Related: FBI sought records related to Trump 'Access Hollywood' tape in Cohen raid: reports

“Now we are wondering, who did he tape?” an unidentified Trump adviser told the Post. “Did he store those someplace where they were actually seized? … Did they find his recordings?”

If authorities did seize the recordings, they would not immediately have access to them, the Post reported. Legal experts told the newspaper that they would first be reviewed by a Justice Department team and that they might face the scrutiny of a federal judge before investigators are able to review them. The checks are intended to protect lawyer-client privilege, according to the Post.

>> Related: National Enquirer paid Trump doorman $30K to spike unproven 'illegitimate child' rumor: AP report

Investigators seized Cohen’s computer, his phone and several records while conducting search warrants earlier this week, according to The Washington Post.

Authorities sought details on Cohen’s efforts to stave off negative publicity about Trump during a raid on his home and office earlier this week, CBS News and The New York Times reported. Among other things, authorities sought information on the release of an infamous tape in which the president could be heard on a hot mic making derogatory comments about women and payments Cohen made to a pair of women who claim they had sexual relationships with Trump, The New York Times reported.

>> Related: Trump tweets 'attorney-client privilege is dead' after FBI raid on Michael Cohen's office

Adult film star Stormy Daniels said she had a sexual encounter with Trump in 2006. Karen McDougal, a former Playboy Playmate, claimed she had a nearly year-long affair with the president in 2006 and 2007.

Officials also sought details on the role that the publisher of The National Enquirer played in keeping the women’s stories from going public, according to The Times.

Man accused of incest kills daughter, infant son in murder-suicide

A North Carolina man accused of having an incestuous relationship killed his biological daughter, their infant son and the woman’s adoptive father before shooting himself, the New York Daily News reported.

>> Read more trending news

Steven Pladl, 43, was found dead in Dover, New York, on Thursday, the victim of a self-inflicted gunshot wound as he sat in his car.

The triple murder-suicide covered three states, the Daily News reported.

Pladl’s biological daughter, Katie Pladl, 20, was given up for adoption when she was an infant. She tracked her father down on social media two years ago, and the two began an incestuous relationship, police said.

>> Related: Father and daughter charged with incest 20 years after adoption

Katie gave birth to their son, Bennet Pladl, in September 2017. Katie and Steven Pladl were arrested in January; they were released on bond and ordered by the court to stay apart.

Thursday, Steven Pladl’s mother called 911 for authorities to conduct a welfare check on his home in Knightdale, North Carolina, the Daily News reported.

Bennett was found dead at the home around 9 a.m., Knightdale Police Chief Lawrence Capp said.

Katie Pladl and her adoptive father, Anthony Fusco, 56, were also found dead in a pickup truck in New Milford, Connecticut, Capps said.

Steven Pladl then drove to New York, where he committed suicide, according to his attorney, Rick Friedman.

Katie Pladl was born in 1998 before she was legally adopted by the Fuscos, the Daily News reported.

Teacher in prison for raping young girl named ‘person of interest’ in her mother’s 2000 murder

A Maryland Spanish teacher and babysitter serving more than 100 years in prison for sexually abusing a 10-year-old girl nearly two decades ago has been named a person of interest in her mother’s 2000 disappearance and presumed murder. 

Fernando Antonio Asturizaga, 51, was identified Thursday by Montgomery County Police Chief Thomas Manger as a potential suspect in the disappearance of Alison Thresher. Thresher, 45, vanished from her Bethesda apartment in May 2000.

Police officials said in a news release that Thresher’s sister reported her missing on May 25 after supervisors at The Washington Post, where Thresher was scheduled to start work as a copy editor on May 24, reported that she had never shown up for work. Thresher was last seen alive by her parents on the night of May 23. 

“We believe she was killed in her apartment, based upon the evidence that we found inside her residence,” Manger said Thursday. “We also believe that her body was taken to an unknown location.”

Her red Volvo station wagon was later found abandoned about a mile from her home. 

>> Read more trending news

Manger said that Thresher’s disappearance was suspicious, but was not considered a murder investigation until about eight months after she vanished. Detectives were unable, however, to develop a suspect from the evidence found at that point. 

At the time of her disappearance, Thresher’s daughter, Hannah Thresher, was 12 and her son, Sam Thresher, was 10. 

Hannah Thresher came forward in 2010 and reported that Asturizaga, her Spanish teacher at Friends Community School, a Quaker private school in College Park, sexually abused her from 1999 to 2001. The abuse started when she was 10 and Asturizaga was 32.

Asturizaga was convicted in 2012 of 18 counts of rape, sexual abuse and child abuse. He is serving his time at Western Correctional Institution in Cumberland, according to the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services

See the entire news conference on the Thresher cold case below. 

Manger said that the break in the homicide investigation came when the lead detective on Hannah’s sex abuse case transferred to the cold case unit -- and, in 2016, reopened her mother’s murder case. 

“The detectives felt that, with the passage of time, it might make a difference with Asturizaga in speaking to them, or could cause additional information to surface,” Manger said. “The case was reopened and, based on recent analysis, we now believe the suspect attempted to destroy evidence at the time that the crime was committed inside her apartment.”

The new leads led investigators to label Asturizaga a person of interest in the case. 

Manger said investigators are hoping to learn more from the public about Asturizaga’s activities at the time of the homicide, including any additional inappropriate behavior he had with his students. 

Hannah Thresher, now 30, tearfully said at Thursday’s news conference that she believes Asturizaga killed her mother so the abuse could continue unabated. She quoted something she read in a January New York Times article that she said “deeply resonated” with her.

“‘To groom girls, you must erase mothers,’” she quoted from the story. “This is what Mr. Asturizaga did -- he erased our mother so that he could ensure his own freedom and continue to abuse me, both sexually and emotionally, for almost another year, in addition to the nearly two years that had already passed since the abuse began.” 

Sam Thresher also spoke, accompanied by a service dog named Leroy.

“It is probably the top priority in my life to see that he be prosecuted for this crime before he passes,” Sam Thresher told reporters.

He described Alison Thresher as an amazing mother. 

“She was intelligent, she was eloquent, an excellent writer,” he said. “She was passionate, mostly about Hannah and I. She gave us everything that we hold dear now.”  

A ‘contentious divorce’ and a troublesome babysitter

Alison Thresher was going through a “contentious divorce” at the time of her disappearance and her estranged husband, James Thresher, had hired Asturizaga to babysit the children when they were in his custody, Manger said. 

Alison Thresher became concerned about what she considered “grooming behavior” from Asturizaga, and she wrote letters about her concerns to Asturizaga, the school and her divorce lawyer expressing those concerns, the chief said. 

“Alison put her husband, Asturizaga and the school officials on notice that she did not want Asturizaga to have contact with her daughter, Hannah,” Manger said. “Despite her concerns, Asturizaga continued to have contact with Hannah.”

Police officials said Thresher also got into a fight with Asturizaga outside her ex-husband’s home in February 2000, just three months before she vanished, about his continuing to babysit her children. 

Police investigators released the contents of two of her letters Thursday following a news conference about the case. The letter from Thresher to Asturizaga was dated April 28, 1999. 

“I write to you as someone who’s been a friend and great help to me and my family the last couple years,” Thresher wrote. “Several times over the last several months I have expressed my concern to you that my daughter, Hannah, has formed an excessive emotional bond with you. When I made it clear that I did not want the two of you to be alone together, you assured me that you would, in fact, no longer babysit for Hannah and Sam. That was not true.”

Thresher went on to write that she was disappointed with his lack of response to her concerns, citing his job as a teacher as a reason she hoped he would have been more sensitive. 

In the letter to the school, dated June 9, she wrote that she continued to be concerned about what she considered an inappropriate relationship between Asturizaga and Hannah. She said that she would continue to withhold permission for Hannah to attend the school for the 1999-2000 school year and that she would not be responsible for any financial obligation into which her ex-husband entered. 

She also refused permission for Hannah to work at the school’s summer camps, where she would have contact with Asturizaga. 

The details of Thresher’s letter to her attorney were not released, but investigators said that the letter informed her lawyer that Thresher had heard from other mothers concerned about their own daughters’ relationships with Asturizaga, who was also a youth soccer coach. 

In journal entries released by police officials, including one dated two months before her disappearance, Thresher wrote about her concerns, often with abbreviations and the use of the letter F to represent “Fernando.”

“If you’re uncomfortable, that’s a sign,” Thresher wrote in the March 18, 2000, entry. “Go (with) that. 

“Mad (about) my thoughts re: (Fernando),” she continued. “Stress that lines of (demarcation). He is a teacher. Many people have concerns (about) male babysitters -- teenagers. Sometimes too stimulating (for) them.”

In a second, undated entry, she notes that neither the school nor Asturizaga followed through on their obligations.

“No physical proximity,” she wrote. 

Despite her concerns, James Thresher continued to allow Asturizaga to babysit the children. Police officials indicated that Hannah attended the school through 2001, after her mother vanished. 

A mother vanishes without a trace

The night of May 23, when her family last saw her, Alison Thresher had dinner at her parents’ home, leaving around 8 p.m., the news release said. She spoke to a friend on the phone around 10 p.m. and sent two emails to friends, the second of the two sent at 12:17 a.m. on May 24.

A neighbor reported hearing cries from Thresher’s apartment between 4 and 5 a.m. that same morning. Around 6 a.m., a man was seen running from the neighborhood where her Volvo was found the following day. 

The man’s physical description matched that of Asturizaga, investigators said

A resident in that neighborhood noticed the red station wagon around 10 a.m., but didn’t realize the significance until Thresher’s missing persons case was made public. 

At the time of his 2010 arrest for abusing the girl, Asturizaga refused to talk to detectives about her mother’s disappearance, the news release said. At that point, all leads in the missing persons case had been exhausted. 

Hannah Thresher said she “strongly denied” (the sexual abuse) as a child -- as she said Asturizaga carefully groomed her to do. Still, her mother knew something was not right. 

“Soon after she made her suspicions known, my mother disappeared,” she said at Thursday’s news conference. “A few months later, when I expressed frustration at his lack of empathy toward my grief over the loss of my mother, Mr. Asturizaga said to me: ‘I thought things would be easier for us now that she’s gone.’”

Hannah Thresher said she didn’t think anything of the comment at the time. After a decade of reflection, she started to wonder if his words meant more than she thought. 

She said that Asturizaga took nearly everything from her -- years of her life, her innocence, her happiness and her optimism. She called herself resilient, however.

“For my mother, I need the whole truth to come out,” she said. “Despite the trial that ensued when I came forward about his abuse and the resulting 100-some years that he was sentenced to spend in prison, there are still many questions that need to be answered.”

She asked people to call Montgomery County police if they remember anything, no matter how insignificant it might seem.

“Just as I did, you may not have noticed it at the time,” she said. “But now, looking back, it might be more meaningful.”

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