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THE LATEST REGIONAL NEWS

Alert Issued For 14-Year-Old Believed Kidnapped
HELENA, Mont. (AP) - Montana Department of Justice officials have issued an Amber alert for a 14-year-old girl they believe was kidnapped near Lame Deer.

State officials say Mariah Eileen Akeen was in the passenger seat of a pickup truck without license plates that was stopped at 2 a.m. Wednesday.

Officers were arresting the driver when another passenger, 19-year-old Zachary Whiteman, jumped into the driver's seat and left with Akeen still inside.

Officials say Whiteman may have driven to the Ashland area.

Akeen is described as a 5-foot-4 Native American with black hair and eyes and weighing 146 pounds. Whiteman is 6 feet, 4 inches and weighs 260 pounds.

They were last seen in a tan 2004 Ford F150 pickup truck.

(Copyright 2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
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Author, State Seek Ruling on Rape Case Records
HELENA, Mont. (AP) - Attorneys for author Jon Krakauer and the Montana University System are asking a judge to decide whether the state should release documents on how the commissioner of higher education handled a rape case against the University of Montana quarterback.

Krakauer attorney Mike Meloy told District Judge Kathy Seeley Wednesday the documents are for a book Krakauer is writing about sexual assaults at the university.

Records released in a federal court case detailed the proceedings against a student, later identified as quarterback Jordan Johnson. Meloy says a university court found the student had raped another student and recommended expulsion.

Meloy says the accused student appealed to Commissioner Clayton Christianson, but the record ends there.

Johnson was not expelled.

Christianson attorney Viv Hammill says the state could lose federal funding if it releases records without a student's consent.

(Copyright 2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
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Feds Provide $3 Million to Address Tribal Violence
FARGO, N.D. (AP) - Federal authorities are providing $3 million in grants to address violence against women in rural and tribal communities in the oil patch of North Dakota and Montana.

The money from the Office on Violence Against Women will be used to help provide services to victims of sexual assault, domestic violence and stalking.

The grants will be divided among the First Nations Women's Alliance and Three Affiliated Tribes in North Dakota, the Fort Peck Assiniboine and Sioux Tribes in Montana, the North Dakota Council on Abused Women's Services, and the Montana Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence.

Department of Justice officials also announced that the Fort Beck and Fort Berthold reservations will each receive three-year, $450,000 grants to pay for tribal prosecutors who will be cross-designated as special U.S. attorneys.

(Copyright 2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
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Female Grizzly, 2 Cubs Relocated Again
KALISPELL, Mont. (AP) - A family of grizzly bears that had eaten corn and carrots from a garden in the Creston area and was spotted walking through yards on several occasions has been captured and relocated to a remote area on the Flathead Indian Reservation.

The Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks says the 6-year-old female and two cubs were captured by tribal biologists earlier this year and moved to the east side of Hungry Horse Reservoir to keep them away from homes.

Biologists tracking the female's radio collar found that within several weeks the bears had swum across the reservoir and crossed over the Swan Mountains into the Flathead Valley. Over the past month, the bears had been traveling between Lake Blaine and Many Lakes east of Kalispell.

The bears were trapped on Aug. 22 and released the next day.

(Copyright 2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
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Former Guardsman Pleads Guilty to Sex Crimes
HELENA, Mont. (AP) - A former Montana Army National Guard soldier who fled the country to avoid trial has pleaded guilty to sexual abuse of children and bail jumping.

The Independent Record reports Jeffrey Lane Wenzel entered his plea Tuesday in District Court in Helena as part of an agreement that calls for him to be sentenced to eight years in prison. Sentencing is set for Oct. 23.

Prosecutors alleged Wenzel enticed a girl under the age of 16 to show him her breasts with the promise that he would buy her a car.

Wenzel was charged in June 2012. Shortly before his trial was to begin in January 2013 he fled the country. He was arrested in Spain in September 2013 after the owner of a bar where he had been working became suspicious of his ever-changing stories.

(Copyright 2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
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Former Guardsman Pleads Guilty to Sex Crimes
HELENA, Mont. (AP) - A former Montana Army National Guard soldier who fled the country to avoid trial has pleaded guilty to sexual abuse of children and bail jumping.

The Independent Record reports Jeffrey Lane Wenzel entered his plea Tuesday in District Court in Helena as part of an agreement that calls for him to be sentenced to eight years in prison. Sentencing is set for Oct. 23.

Prosecutors alleged Wenzel enticed a girl under the age of 16 to show him her breasts with the promise that he would buy her a car.

Wenzel was charged in June 2012. Shortly before his trial was to begin in January 2013 he fled the country. He was arrested in Spain in September 2013 after the owner of a bar where he had been working became suspicious of his ever-changing stories.

(Copyright 2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
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Former Wall Street Journal Reporter Assaulted
MISSOULA, Mont. (AP) - Police in Missoula are searching for a man suspected of assaulting a former Wall Street Journal and Missoulian reporter, likely costing the 70-year-old man the sight in his left eye.

Les Gapay tells the Missoulian he was assaulted Sunday in the parking lot of a Walmart, where he was staying in his pickup for the night.

Gapay says as he was leaving the store he was approached by two intoxicated men, one of whom punched him in the chest. He says a third man hit him in the eye at least five times.

Gapay's eye surgeon told him his chance of seeing again is about 5 percent.

The first two men were arrested and face misdemeanor charges. Officers have a warrant to arrest 30-year-old Sean Marceau for felony aggravated assault.

(Copyright 2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
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Judge Rejects Senate Leader's Conspiracy Claims
HELENA, Mont. (AP) - A Helena judge has dismissed claims by the Montana Senate majority leader that the governor, a state senator and two commissioners of political practices were conspiring to drive him out of office.

District Judge Jeffrey Sherlock Tuesday also rejected Bozeman Republican Art Wittich's accusations of misconduct and abuse of process against Commissioner Jonathan Motl for bringing a civil action against Wittich for campaign law violations.

Motl's lawsuit asks Sherlock to uphold the commissioner's findings that Wittich coordinated with and took illegal corporate contributions from the conservative group Western Tradition Partnership.

If Sherlock agrees with Motl's findings, Wittich could be removed from office.

Wittich filed counterclaims against Motl, saying the commissioner's ulterior motive is to remove Wittich.

Wittich also claimed Gov. Steve Bullock, Republican Sen. Bruce Tutvedt of Kalispell and Motl's predecessor, Jim Murry, conspired against him.

(Copyright 2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
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Triple-Murder Suspect Due in Court Wednesday
BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) - A man accused in a triple murder on Montana's Crow Indian Reservation is due in court Wednesday for a mental health competency hearing.

Twenty-five-year-old Sheldon Bernard Chase has been ordered to appear via video conference from the U.S. Medical Center for Federal Prisoners in Springfield, Missouri. Also ordered to appear was prison psychologist Dr. Elizabeth Tyner.

Authorities say in October 2011 Chase took a rifle from his mother's house in North Dakota and travelled to the Crow reservation, where he shot his grandmother, cousin and the cousin's boyfriend.

If U.S. District Judge Susan Watters upholds an earlier determination that Chase is incompetent to stand trial, he'll go through a civil commitment process that could send him to an institution for the rest of his life.

UPDATE: JUDGE: MURDER SUSPECT LIKELY TO BE COMMITTED

A federal judge says a man accused in a 2011 triple murder on Montana's Crow Indian Reservation is likely to be committed to a psychiatric institution after he was found incompetent to stand trial.

Wednesday's incompetency ruling from U.S. District Judge Susan Watters came after a government psychologist testified that 25-year-old defendant Sheldon Bernard Chase suffers from a combination of schizophrenia and depression.

(Copyright 2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
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Woman Who Left Hospital Denies Forgery Charge
ANACONDA, Mont. (AP) - A 29-year-old woman who fled the Anaconda hospital after she and her newborn tested positive for methamphetamine has pleaded not guilty to a forgery charge that alleges she checked into the hospital using her sister's name.

Michelle Yallup entered her plea in District Court on Wednesday and was ordered held on $30,000 bond. Her public defender asked for a bond reduction hearing to be held later.

Yallup gave birth to her son on June 17. Prosecutors say she left the hospital against medical advice that night and was on the run for five weeks before her capture in Willard, Utah on July 21. Utah officials decided not to pursue charges including child abuse and possession of marijuana.

Yallup has not yet been charged with any harm to her child in Montana.

The hospital bill was $13,338.

(Copyright 2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
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* KPQX Regional News *
KPQX regional and state news emphasizes quality and substance. Audio is utilized to ensure accurate reporting - no misquotes or misinterpretations because listeners hear the actual quote and audio from the people and events making the news. You interpret this significance of the report yourself.

Our regional news brings relevance to issues of importance - news coverage that relates to residents of North Central Montana. Accurate, timely information delivered in a prompt and cohesive manner. Regional and state news are developed through a working relationship with other radio stations throughout the region and state of Montana.

Expanded hourly updates are delivered at the top of each hour at 6, 7, 8 and 9 a.m. and every afternoon at 4 and 5 p.m. Headline news, breaking stories and updates available all other hours. "Montana at Noon" is a more in-depth review of the news starting daily at 12:15 p.m. daily.

Residents of North Central Montana have long recognized the quality and timeliness of our newscasts. Additional recognition of our news at the national, regional and state level comes from the Associated Press, Society for Professional Journalists, the Greater Montana Foundation and the Radio and Television News Director Association's prestigious Edward R. Murrow award.
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