Ore. Deaths Probed as Homicides

TILLAMOOK, Ore. -- The bodies of a mother and her three children were found in a remote area of the Tillamook State Forest and police were looking for the father, authorities said yesterday.

The deaths are being investigated as homicides, although the causes had not been determined and authorities had not ruled out a murder-suicide, Tillamook County Sheriff Todd Anderson said.

Renee Morris, 31, and her children -- Bryant, 10, Alexis, 8, and Jonathan, 4 -- were reported missing Saturday from their Portland home, he said.

He said police are looking for Morris's 37-year-old husband, who was last seen with the family leaving Portland in a minivan. Anderson characterized the husband as a "person of interest," but did not rule out the possibility that he was also a victim.

Two hunters in the northwestern Oregon forest found the first body Saturday morning on a remote road about 30 miles east of Tillamook. State police investigators later found the three other bodies in the same general area.

* DAVENPORT, Iowa -- Just days after thieves stole Christmas gifts meant for women and children at a domestic violence shelter, an outpouring of community support has the gift collection overflowing. About $1,200 worth of goods, including Barbie dolls and video games, was taken from the shelter late Thursday or Friday. After local media reported the theft Saturday, donations began arriving. By Saturday night, the eastern Iowa shelter collected more than $5,100 in cash and about 10 van loads of toys, said Tom Wilson, president and chief executive officer of Family Resources Inc. "By far, it has more than replaced the gifts that were stolen," he said. "We got the Grinch this time."

* NEW YORK -- The FBI agent who wrote a scathing memo on FBI intelligence failures and women who blew the whistle on corruption at corporate giants Enron and WorldCom were named yesterday as Time magazine's Persons of the Year. The magazine's editors chose FBI agent Coleen Rowley, former WorldCom internal auditor Cynthia Cooper and ex-Enron vice president Sherron Watkins "for believing -- really believing -- that the truth is one thing that must not be moved off the books, and for stepping in to make sure that it wasn't."

* LOS ANGELES -- About two dozen longtime firefighters who spent months battling a series of destructive wildfires across the West have been ordered to return thousands of dollars in overtime pay. The firefighters, who work for the National Park Service, Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management, were told in recent weeks that they had worked too much overtime and exceeded salary limits. Federal law restricts pay for firefighters to $121,600 a year. Officials said they are trying to find a way to allow the firefighters to keep their overtime, which may include paying back the money but receiving reimbursement in another form.

-- From News Services