Local Update - March 13, 2007

Fire destroys car, damages home

A fire that started in a car under the carport of a home in the 3300 block of Hillis Road in Augusta destroyed that car, damaged another, and also damaged the home.

The family was able to get out of the house after hearing the car alarm.

Fire officials believe the fire was accidental.

Aiken toddler found dead in pool

An autopsy is scheduled today for a 20-month-old who was found dead in a pool yesterday.

Aiken County investigators say the mother, Rebecca Strickland, discovered her son missing after she took a nap with him.

A relative found him unresponsive and face down in a pool.

The Aiken County coroner's office and investigators are still looking into the death.

An autopsy is scheduled for today.

Woman arrested for leaving child in car

A Wrens woman's decision to leave her young nephew alone in a car landed her in jail.

Audrey Velasco bonded out of jail yesterday after deputies arrested her Sunday evening (March 11) in the Augusta Mall parking lot.

Deputies say the nine-year-old could have been in danger during the hour he spent alone.

They say mall security found Tiriq Collins alone in the backseat, then found his great aunt and two older children inside, shopping for shoes.

Sgt. Robert Cross says the boy did not know to call 911 in case of an emergency.

The law says a child is anyone under 17. Law enforcement tells us they write a report when the child is under 13, and they make an arrest when the child is not mature enough to be alone.

Investigators hope new evidence leads to murder suspect

There's new evidence in the murder case of Corey Joseph. Investigators are hoping the silver mouth grill they found in Joseph's car will lead them to a murder suspect.

Investigators hope the unique design of the grill will be recognized by someone who sold it or made it.

They're now trying to get a DNA sample off the grill.

Deputies say Joseph was alone at a BP station at 7:47, but had two passengers by 8 o'clock and was found shot to death two miles down the road.

If you have any information, call the sheriff's office.

Cell phones, drugs found inside state prison

Officials at the Richmond County Correctional Institution may have caught on to someone's escape plan.

They say they found cell phones and drugs inside the prison.

Now there's an investigation to find out how the contraband got in the hands of inmates.

The warden says he's concerned because inmates are supposed to be monitored at all times by an officer while on work detail and searched each time they reenter the building.

He's investigating the possibility of the contraband being slipped to the inmates by corrections officers or Augusta recreation and public works employees, who sometimes work near labor crews.

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