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Alton Telegraph (Newspaper) - June 23, 1999, Alton, Illinois SERVING THE RIVER BEND SINCE 1836 Double win i XOIIAY^ lOOII Bombers sweep IGood,mor0S8lon ^ M Twin Qty : ^ your best on the table _ I for friends and family Page C-l |    Page B-l mmmmmmmmmmmmmammmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmrnmmmmmmmmmmmmmmam The outlo Chance of storms. High homeowners 85; low 68.    ;    lower    taxes Proviiliiiq relief fTr’ Partners help Page D-8 Page IM €23E3IS!Ea TA*!*©Vol. 164, No. 159 — 50 cents Wednesday, June 23,1999 www.theteleqraph.comPossible sighting of serial killer By STEVE WHITWORTH Telegraph staff writer CAHOKIA — Employees at a Cahokia gas station may have had a fa£e-to-face encounter Tuesday with Rafael Resendez-Ramirez, suspected of being the “railroad killer” responsible for at least eight slayings. The FBI is investigating whether a man who bought gasoline Tuesday morning at Suspect believed seen at Cahokia gas station the Cahokia Amoco station could have been Resendez-Ramirez, who was added Monday to the FBI’s list of “Ten Most Wanted Fugitives." “Looking at the picture in the newspaper, I’m about 80 percent sure it was him," said the manager of the gas station, who asked that his name be withheld, in a telephone interview. “Ifs real close. The guy’s height matched the description and the hair and the mustache and all that.” Resendez-Ramirez was charged Monday in Jackson County Circuit Court with two counts of first-degree murder in the killings of 80-year-old George Morber Sr. and his daughter, 51-year-old Carolyn Frederick, whose bodies were found June 15 at their home on Illinois Route 3 in Gorham, about IOO miles south of Cahokia. Morber’s truck was found the next day in Cairo. Since then, authorities believe Resendez-Ramirez was seen in Southern Illinois near railroad tracks in Chester last week and outside a coin laundry in Percy on Sunday. About 7 a m. Tuesday, a man bought gas at the Cahokia Amoco and asked the clerk for directions to Interstate 44, said Lt. James Nichols of the Cahokia Police Department The manager explained that he was in the store, which is on Camp Jackson Road (Illinois Route 157) near Interstate 255, and talked to the man “for about 30 to 40 seconds" to give him directions “The gentleman was polite, if that was him," the manager said. He directed the man to ■ See KILLER. Page A-9 The Telegraph/JOHN BADMAN East Alton Fire Chief Larry Ringering pulls a hose into position Tuesday as flames leap from windows in the rear of a vacant house at 823 Cherry St. in East Alton. Fire in vacant house called suspicious By ANGELA MUELLER Telegraph staff writer EAST ALTON - A fire Tuesday in a vacant house was labeled as suspicious by officials with the East Alton Fire Department. East Alton Fire Chief Larry Ringering said flames were shooting out of the rear windows of the house at 823 Cherry St. when firefighters arrived. A fire in the front of the house apparently had gone out, he said. Ringering said the back door of the house was found open and the front door was still locked. The house is owned by Charles Reynolds of East Alton, who has been staying with friends across the street from the vacant house. He said he was planning to renovate the house and had shut off all utilities. Reynolds said he was across the street when the fire started but didn’t know about it until the firetrueks arrived. “I heard the firetrueks coming and came out and saw the firetrueks and the smoke.” Ringering said two firetrueks from East Alton and one from the Wood River Fire Department responded to the call, which came in about 4 p.m. He said it took firefighters about IO minutes to put out the flames. Substantial damage was done both to the front and rear of the house. Ringering said damage was more extensive in the back part of the house, where two bedrooms and a living room are located. “Damage was more extensive in the back because furniture there fueled the fire. That was the only part of the house that had furniture; the front part was empty.” Firefighters will continue their investigation to determine the extent of damages and the origin of the fire. Costello to push for steel loan bill By ANDE YAKSTIS Telegraph staff writer ALTON - U.S. Rep. Jerry Costello of Illinois will try to muster support in the U.S. House to pass a $1 billion steel loan bill to save Laclede Steel Co. from bankruptcy, “ITI stand on the House floor and urge my colleagues to pass the $1 billion loan bill to save Laclede and hundreds of steelwork ers jobs in Alton and across the country," the Belleville Democrat said Tuesday. Last Friday, the U.S. Senate passed a $1.5 billion loan package, which would help Laclede Steel stay open and protect 600 jobs at Alton. The House may vote in two weeks on the bill, which could provide up to $90 million to Laclede for improvements to the plant. The survival of Laclede, OOO jobs and a $26 million annual payroll may depend on passage of the loan guarantee. bill, Costello said. “It’s vital that we pass the loan bill to help Laclede and the livelihood of its employees, their spouses and children,” Costello said. The multimillion-dollar-per- ■ See COSTELLO, Page A-9 Union leader laments Senate vote to block quotas Pages A-3, 0-1 Mother fit for trial in baby’s death By DENNIS GRUBAUGH Telegraph staff writer EDWARDSVILLE• — A Godfrey woman has been found fit to stand trial in the death of her baby girl last year. Michelle T. Swanson, 27, was released Tuesday from the Alton Mental Health Center and turned over to the Madison County Sheriff’s Department on the order of Circuit Judge J. Lawrence Keshne.r. She was taken to the County Jail, where she was held in lieu of $500,000 bond. Swanson is charged with attempted first-degree murder, a count that was filed last fall while her daughter, Stephanie Esters, was clinging to life at Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital in St. Louis. Swanson was accused of taking her 5-week-old child, slamming her against a wall then placing her under a pile of clothes in an attempt to suffocate her Oct. IO. On Oct. 30, the child’s father ordered her taken off life-support systems. By that time, however. Circuit Judge Edward C. Ferguson had ruled Swanson unfit to stand trial, based on a report from court-appointed psychologist Dr. Lawrence Taliana. Swanson was taken to Alton Mental Health Center, where staff re-evaluated her and found her mentally fit. Now, prosecutors are mulling over the possibilities. “This is an unusual case,” Assistant State’s Attorney Don Weber said. "Now that she is fit to stand trial, we will review the case for possible additional charges and then disposition." The charges could include first-degree murder, depending on the findings of the pathologist who conducted an autopsy, prosecutors said. The Telegraph/JOHN BADMAN Meadowbrook firefighters stand by a smashed car that left the 5500 block of West Moro Road Tuesday and plowed through about 100 feet of corn before stopping. The driver, whose name was not available, suffered only minor injuries but was taken from the scene by ambulance, said a deputy with the Madison County Sheriff’s Department.Area/Illinois .A-3-10 Bulletin Board .A-6 Classifieds ... .C-7Editorial ......A-4Horoscope D-5 Nation/worldA-10;D-6Obituaries.....A-5 Baldwin, Barnes, Cerentano, Duvall, Habbe, Hardimon, Kilduff, Marshall, Parker, Peterson, Young Television.....D-7Plowing corn ;

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