National Digest: Estranged father kills toddler; girl’s dramatic self-rescue

March 24, 2013
Pennsylvania
Toddler fatally shot,
his mother wounded

A central Pennsylvania father shot and killed his 2-year-old son and wounded his estranged wife during a custody exchange before killing himself, authorities said.

Police said Kenneth Ayers also shot at his mother during the altercation Saturday morning at her home in a rural area about 20 miles southwest of State College.

Huntingdon County District Attorney George Zanic said Ayers, 52, was subject to a protection-from-abuse order filed by his wife but was permitted visits with his son, Michael.

Saturday’s visit was to happen at his mother’s home in Barree Township. But once at the home, Ayers got into an altercation with his estranged wife, Hollie Jo, and shot her in the legs and arm with a .40-caliber handgun before shooting his son, police said.

Ayers’s body was found several hours later in his parked truck in a wooded area in Warriors Mark Township. Investigators said he died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Hollie Jo Ayers is expected to survive, police said.

— Associated Press

California
Girl survives crash
in dramatic escape

A 9-year-old girl crawled out of a mangled sport-utility vehicle, climbed out of a canyon and walked about a mile in the middle of the night to find help after surviving a highway crash that killed her father in Southern California, authorities said.

The 2010 Ford Escape was launched about 200 feet down an embankment along a semi-rural stretch of the Sierra Highway in Acton about 1 a.m. Sunday, said California Highway Patrol Officer Cheyenne Quesada.

The girl was treated for minor injuries.

— Associated Press

Florida
Two skydivers dead
in separate jumps

Two Icelandic skydivers who died during weekend jumps at a popular southwest Florida camp did not deploy their main parachutes, the co-owner of the facility said Sunday.

Deputies found the bodies of the skydiving instructor and a student Saturday after the two failed to return from a jump with a group, setting off an hours-long air and ground search around the Zephyrhills facility, about 30 miles northeast of Tampa. Pasco County sheriff’s authorities identified the victims as instructor Orvar Arnarson, 41, and Andrimar Pordarson, 25. The men had jumped separately, not in tandem.

— Associated Press

A woman and two of her sons are improving at hospitals after they were seriously injured when a flight information billboard fell on them at an airport in Alabama. A third son was killed Friday when the electronic board, weighing at least 300 pounds, fell at the Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport. The boys’ mother, Heather Bresette, has broken ankles and a crushed pelvis. She was still unconscious Sunday and does not know that her son died.

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