MARYLAND

Bodies of Slain Baltimore Children Buried

The bodies of three children slain in Baltimore were buried yesterday in Mexico, amid the wails of relatives who wondered aloud who could have killed them and friends and family members demanding justice.

Ricardo Espinoza, 9, sister Lucero Quezada, 8, and their 10-year-old male cousin, Alexis Espejo, were found dead in their Baltimore apartment May 27. One child had been beheaded and the others nearly decapitated.

Two relatives have been taken into custody and face first-degree murder charges, but police and family members know of no motive in the killing.

The children's bodies were brought back to the small farming village of Tenenexpan to be buried next to family members, as is customary in Mexico.

The bodies arrived Saturday, and relatives and friends attended an all-night vigil before carrying the coffins down a hill to the cemetery.

Frederick Considering Using Quarry Water

The LaFarge quarry could boost Frederick's water supply, which has been strained over the past several years by development and drought, by 2 million gallons a day, officials said.

Daily consumption in Frederick is 6.7 million gallons, and the city allocated an additional 1.1 million gallons for new development last year.

The quarry plan is one of six options the city's Water NOW Team is looking at to increase the water supply.

"The idea [to use quarry water] has been around for a very long time," Water NOW Team manager Tom Pellegrino said. "But talking about it and doing it are two different things. This administration is not just talking about it, we are doing it."

City Attorney Sandy Webb, who is working with the Water NOW Team, recently presented a memorandum of understanding between the city and LaFarge to the mayor and board. The memo sets the stage for negotiating a legal agreement between the city and the quarry and is the first step toward reaching a deal, officials said.

The water would take a roundabout route from the deep stone quarry pit southeast of the city. It would be pumped through existing stormwater lines to Carroll Creek, flow through downtown Frederick and then be pumped out and sent through a new pipeline to the Monocacy River.

VIRGINIA

Manassas Man Drowns in Rappahannock

A 22-year-old man drowned in strong currents in the Rappahannock River yesterday after he waded in near Old Mill Park in Stafford County.

The victim, a Manassas man whose name was not released pending the notification of his family, was the second to drown in the river this year.

The man was visiting the park with his wife and a friend, Stafford County Sheriff Charles Jett said. He was in the water between the Falmouth and Chatham bridges about 2:45 p.m. when he went under and didn't resurface, prompting his wife to begin screaming for help from the shore at fishermen on the Stafford side of the river, Jett said.

Jason Elliott, 24, of Stafford dived into the river and began searching while Jaime Lavallee, 27, of Stafford called 911, but Elliott said the river's current was so strong that it prevented him from getting to the area where the man was last seen.

Dive teams from the Stafford County Sheriff's Office, the Falmouth Volunteer Fire Department and the Fredericksburg Fire Department searched the river for about an hour and a half before finding the victim's body at 4:10 p.m. in water about 15 feet deep.

Philip Morris Pledges Cuts in River Toxins

Philip Morris USA is pledging to continue cutting the amount of pollutants it dumps into the James River regardless of the limits the state sets.

A preliminary draft Virginia Department of Environmental Quality permit for one tobacco company plant in Chesterfield County would cap the amount of nitrogen it could legally discharge at 217,000 pounds a year.

But the state's figures show that the Richmond area Park 500 plant has not released that much nitrogen in any of the past three years. The numbers instead show that the company has cut its nitrogen releases nearly in half during that period -- from 201,000 pounds in 2001 to 138,000 pounds in 2002 and 108,000 pounds last year.

Nitrogen, along with phosphorous, is a nutrient that fuels algae growth. Excessive algae growth can become harmful to marine life. Nitrogen is found in animal wastes, fertilizers and exhaust from smokestacks and cars as well as in wastewater.

The proposed 217,000-pound interim cap for the Chesterfield plant "is not a number we're asking for," said Philip Morris spokesman Bill Phelps.

Department spokesman Bill Hayden said the number isn't final.

Arlington to Increase ART Transit Fares

The Arlington County board has approved fare increases for the Arlington Transit system, or ART, that will take effect in two weeks.

Starting June 27, the regular fare will be $1.25. The senior citizen and disabled rider fare will rise to 60 cents.

Both equal the fare increases for Metrobus riders that go into effect the same day.

The fare increases will help cover rising costs for operating and maintaining the transit fleet.

Most of the ART system's discounts, including lower fares with a Metrorail transfer and free rides with a Metrobus transfer, will remain.

Arlington Backs Apartment, Retail Center

A new apartment and retail complex received the go-ahead Saturday from Arlington County lawmakers. The Amelia Residences will be built at Wilson Boulevard and North Oakland Street.

The eight-story building will include 108 apartment units, underground parking and more than 4,100 square feet of retail space.

To make the project work, the developers will contribute $500,000 to the county's Housing Reserve Fund for affordable housing, $50,000 to the county's Public Art Fund and bus stop improvements on Wilson Boulevard.

Construction will begin no earlier than January 2006.

"I always remembered her saying, 'Be happy with whatever you do with your life.' I've always tried to live that. If I did anything different than I was going to do before, I'd be doing a disservice to Dawn."

-- Keith Garvin, whose wife, Dawn, was murdered in her Baltimore County apartment by Steven Oken in 1987. Oken is scheduled to be executed this week for the crime, the first execution in Maryland in six years. -- Page A1

Compiled from reports by the Associated Press.