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State Briefs

By The Associated Press • Updated Jun 6, 2019 at 8:00 AM

Detroit police seek 'serial murderer' in deaths of 3 women

DETROIT (AP) — Investigators believe a "serial murderer and rapist" targeting prostitutes is at large in Detroit after the decomposed body of a third woman was found Wednesday in a vacant house, the police chief said.

Chief James Craig said the homicides, which began in March, appear to be related to the sex trade. He declined to "go into a lot of detail."

Two of the three women were in their early 50s. One died of blunt force trauma, while the cause of the other deaths remains under investigation, Craig told reporters.

"We believe this is a serial murderer and rapist, and we want to alert all sex workers, particularly those who work inside vacant houses, to beware," Craig said.

He made a public appeal for more information, especially from people who accept money for sex, although he also cautioned that "we're not trying to create an alarm across the city."

Oakland County measles outbreak over, health officials say

PONTIAC (AP) — Health officials in a county that includes many of Detroit's suburbs said Michigan's largest local measles outbreak since 1991 has ended.

The Oakland County Health Division announced the update Wednesday about the outbreak that began in March when an ill traveler from New York visited the area. Forty of the 44 confirmed measles cases in Michigan occurred in Oakland County, and those infected ranged in age from 8 months to 63 years.

The county health department, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, and others administered more than 3,300 measles vaccines and held 17 special vaccine clinics.

Other possible exposure sites were in Detroit, mid-Michigan and West Michigan. The number of cases of the highly contagious disease in Michigan was the highest since 65 in 1991.

Ex-airport official convicted in $5M bribery scheme

DETROIT (AP) — A former Detroit-area airport official has been convicted of accepting more than $5 million in kickbacks from contractors.

Federal prosecutors say it's one of the largest bribery cases in Michigan's Eastern District.

The Detroit News reported that James Warner gasped as the verdict was read Wednesday in federal court. He was found guilty of bribery, conspiracy and other crimes.

Warner was an infrastructure manager at the agency that runs Detroit Metropolitan Airport, from 2010 through 2014. The indictment quotes him as telling a contractor that kickbacks were the "cost of doing business" at the airport.

The indictment says Warner once wrote a cash demand on a napkin, passed it to a contractor and then ate it.

Federal authorities seized about $4 million from Warner last year.

Genesee County exploring guns for animal control officers

FLINT (AP) — The head of animal control in the Flint area wants his officers to carry guns.

The Flint Journal said Genesee County commissioners agreed to form a subcommittee to explore the possibility. Animal Control Director Paul Wallace said it would cost $13,000 to provide guns, ammunition, training and accessories.

Wallace said the five officers have been threatened with a gun while responding to calls. "I wouldn't do that job unarmed,” he said.

Dog owners sometimes carry weapons to protect their illegal activity, Wallace said. The officers enforce license laws and investigate animal cruelty.

A county commissioner, Bryant Nolden, said there will be more discussions about arming officers.

Michigan county awarded $300K for environmental cleanups

HASTINGS (AP) — Barry County will receive $300,000 in federal funds for cleanup of abandoned industrial and commercial properties.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said it's awarding the grant under a program that helps economically disadvantaged communities restore contaminated sites for reuse.

Barry County will use its funding to assess pollution levels at properties in downtown Hastings and determine whether cleanup is required before they can be redeveloped. The county's plans for the sites include new parks with connections to Hasting's Riverwalk trail and affordable new housing constructed with help from other federal and state grants.

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