the region

Red Cross Warns of War Hoax

Military families, including one in Hopewell, Va., have been targeted by hoax telephone calls informing them that loved ones in the service had been killed, injured or reported missing, the American Red Cross said Friday.

The hoax calls started April 1 and have also been made to families in Delaware, Alabama and Michigan, the Red Cross said. About 10 such calls have been reported, and the Red Cross is investigating and turning over any information gathered to the Defense Department for investigation. In Virginia, a person claiming to be with the Red Cross told a woman her son had been taken as a prisoner of war. The woman later spoke to her son, who is safe.

A Red Cross spokesman said the organization does not notify military families of situations affecting servicemen and women. The military delivers those messages, almost always in person, he said.

virginia

Suspicious Fire at N.Va. Mosque

Fairfax County and federal officials are investigating a suspicious fire yesterday at a Falls Church area mosque that destroyed a school bus.

Children playing at the mosque playground noticed the fire on the small bus parked outside the Dar Al-Hijrah Islamic Center about 10 a.m., mosque officials said.

After Fairfax firefighters extinguished the fire, a gasoline can was found on the bus, which runs on diesel. No one was injured.

"The fire was not accidental but incendiary," said Fairfax Fire and Rescue Lt. Raul Castillo.

There were no obvious signs of anti-Muslim bias left at the scene, said Johari Abdul-Malik, a mosque leader, but he said concerns over possible hate crimes had been heightened because of recent anti-Muslim incidents elsewhere in the country.

MARYLAND

Man's Body Found in Chillum

Prince George's County police are investigating the shooting of an unidentified man whose body was found early yesterday in the 2400 block of Chillum Road in Chillum.

Police said the man, who suffered a gunshot wound to the upper body, was found in a parking lot next to a gas station. He was pronounced dead at the scene. His identity was withheld pending notification of relatives.

Police do not know of a suspect or motive.

Husband Held in Disappearance

Police investigating the disappearance of a 26-year-old Prince Frederick woman now believe the woman was killed.

Ebony Savone Hawkins-Janey was reported missing Wednesday by her family, Maryland State Police said yesterday. Police said Hawkins-Janey, who was last seen Tuesday night, allegedly was involved in a domestic dispute with her husband, William Ivan Long Janey.

Investigators have since found a fresh shallow grave in the Port Republic area of Calvert County. The grave has not been excavated. But police said yesterday that they have taken Janey, 32, into custody. No further details were available.

The slaying is being investigated by state police, the Calvert County Sheriff's Office and the state's attorney's office.

THE DISTRICT

Volunteers Spruce Up Schools

More than 2,000 volunteers made improvements to 38 D.C. public schools yesterday during the ninth annual spring cleanup program sponsored by Hands on D.C., a nonprofit group.

Volunteers worked on numerous projects, including the creation of a mural at Orr Elementary School in Southeast Washington and the repainting of classrooms at Amidon Elementary School in Southwest.

The program was created in 1994 by a half-dozen activists. Since then, more than 19,000 people have volunteered efforts by sprucing up more than 100 schools and raising more than $400,000 in scholarship money.

$180,000 Raised for Homeless

A three-on-three charity basketball tournament yesterday at American University's Bender Arena raised more than $180,000 for groups that help the homeless, organizers said.

The second annual Hoops for the Homeless tournament featured 48 teams, which raised $1,000 or more to enter, and celebrity coaches including former Redskins Darrell Green and Charles Mann.

The events benefit nonprofit programs sponsored by Miriam's Kitchen, Shepherd's Table and Carpenter's Shelter.

"You can't build a jail strong enough to hold me. . . . Kill me. I don't care. Torture me. . . . Nothing bothers me. . . . Get rid of me."

-- Lee Boyd Malvo, the teenage sniper suspect, in statement to police, according to a partial summary. -- Page A1

Compiled from reports by staff writers David A. Fahrenthold, Peter Whoriskey and Ovetta Wiggins and the Associated Press.