News 12 This Morning Local Update - December 8, 2006

Brief power outage in downtown Aiken

Around 8 to 10 thousand homes in the downtown Aiken area were without power last night from 7:46 to 7:51. A tree fell on a transmission line. A spokesperson for SCE&G tells News 12 everything is back up and running.

Jury undecided in lounge shooting

An Aiken jury remains undecided in a deadly shooting at a lounge.

Joshua Forrest was arrested and charged in the death of Mario Reddish.

The two men got into a fight at the Elks Lounge, but jurors can't decide whether it was self-defense or not.

Witnesses testified that Reddish was killed while trying to break up a fight between Forrest and another man.

Task Force Lightning ships out to Afghanistan

A group of Fort Gordon soldiers headed to Afghanistan just weeks before Christmas.

They're called Task Force Lightning, and they're a unit of the 513th Military Intelligence Brigade.

They left their families Thursday.

It was a day of tears and hugs as they boarded the bus and left Augusta for a one-year deployment.

While family members are sad, they're also proud.

"I'm going to miss my daughter," said one mother, "but this is something that she has worked hard for, she's looking forward to it and we wish her the best, and all the others that are going over the best too."

This same unit deployed three years ago to Kuwait in the lead up to the Iraq war.

Free Christmas trees for Fort Gordon families

Some Fort Gordon families will have their holiday complete with a free Christmas tree today.

The National Christmas Tree Association is donating 700 of them to military families.

If you registered for a tree, you can pick it up this morning at 9 o'clock in the parking lot next to the Dinner Theater.

All 700 evergreen trees will be distributed.

For more information, call (706) 791-3579.

Georgia DMV's database temporarily down

If you're planning to do business at the Georgia DMV, contact them beforehand to see if they can do what you need.

Temporarily, starting today at 7 p.m., the local tag offices will be unable to contact the central data system to make any business transactions regarding motor vehicle registration or titling.

Internet renewal will also be unavailable.

Things will return back to normal Monday at 6 a.m.

Mother, boyfriend arrested for child cruelty

An Augusta mother and her boyfriend are charged with child cruelty after a two- and three-year-old were found abused.

Darrick Hines and Christine Searcy were arrested Thursday morning.

Investigators say Searcy did nothing after Hines physically beat up both her children.

A suspicious aunt is the one who tipped them off.

This sort of situation is not uncommon.

"The child is not actually able to speak out and say that 'I'm being abused'," said Sgt. Richard Roundtree. "They're not of an intellect where they can see that this is wrong."

The toddlers had injuries like hemorrhaging to the eyes, a ruptured eardrum, and a fractured arm.

Some of the injuries were two weeks old and untreated.

Investigation begins into incident at Aiken industrial building

Aiken Public Safety officers will start investigating today what happened at BAE Systems Thursday.

The plant manager tells News 12 there was smoke in the plant of unknown origin.

All workers there were released, and deputies were out directing traffic.

One of the deputies was hit by a car and was taken by helicopter to the hospital. The South Carolina Highway Patrol will be investigating the accident.

BAE Systems produces parts for military armored vehicles, and 177 people work there.

Donations requested in search for missing Allendale teen

The police search is over, but the family of a missing Allendale teenager wants your help to continue their search.

17-year-old Erica Bradley has been gone for a month.

Now her family and friends are asking for your donation to the missing persons fund so they can offer a reward in the case.

There is one suspect in her disappearance: her boyfriend, Derrick Maner. So far police say there's not enough evidence for an arrest.

The Allendale County Sheriff's Office is accepting the donations.

Search for McCormick County bank robber continues

McCormick County police continue their search this morning for a bank robber.

The robbery happened at the Regions bank on Gold Street around 2:45 Thursday afternoon.

Investigators say a man pulled a handgun and demanded money.

Coming Up

As you shop this holiday season for the little ones, we've got a warning for you.

Monday, a deadly secret that could be inside the toy you're buying.

That's on News 12 This Morning starting at 5:30 a.m.