Pilots in Iraq War Honored

The pilots and crew members of U.S. planes that struck targets where former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein was believed to have been were awarded Distinguished Flying Cross medals, the military said yesterday.

Lt. Col. David Toomey and Maj. Mark Hoehn received medals for flying F-117A attack jets in a March 19 mission to bomb a complex where Hussein and his sons were thought to have been staying. The next day, U.S. ground troops invaded southern Iraq from Kuwait.

Also given the Distinguished Flying Cross were the crew of a B-1B bomber that launched an April 7 strike on a Baghdad house where Hussein was believed to have been staying. They are Capt. Chris Watcher, the plane's commander; Lt. Col. Fred Swan, weapons system officer; Capt. Sloan Hollis, pilot; and 1st Lt. Joe Runci, offensive systems operator.

U.S. experts have not determined if either strike killed Hussein.

Abducted Girl Released

REHRERSBURG, Pa. -- A 13-year-old girl abducted after her uncle allegedly broke into her family's home and killed her parents was released unharmed.

Robert Lee Hixson, 42, surrendered to police and was arrested about four hours after releasing his niece, Hadley Bilger, police said.

Hixson allegedly shot and killed his wife's brother, Myron L. Bilger Jr., and Bilger's wife, Ellen, at their Pocono Lakes home Saturday morning. The couple's 5-year-old daughter was also home at the time and ran to the house of a relative, who alerted authorities, police said. A statewide alert was issued regarding Hadley.

Myron Bilger identified Hixson as the shooter before he died, said Pocono Mountain police.

* MODESTO, Calif. -- Scott Peterson was carrying $10,000 when detectives, fearing he might flee the country, pulled him over about 30 miles from the Mexican border and arrested him Friday, a law enforcement source said. Modesto Police Chief Roy Wasden sought the arrest warrant for Peterson a day before the bodies of Peterson's wife, Laci, and their unborn son were identified because he feared Peterson might flee to Mexico, where law forbids extradition of anyone facing the death penalty. Prosecutors in Stanislaus County plan to charge Peterson, 30, with capital murder.

* BIG PINE KEY, Fla. -- Volunteers worked to save seven critically ill pilot whales that became stranded with 28 others Friday in shallow water off the Florida Keys. Ten of the 28 are unaccounted for and may have returned to deeper water; seven died; and four were euthanized, officials said.

* FAIR LAWN, N.J. -- Omar Marti, a suspect in the fatal shooting of Officer MaryAnn Collura last week, died in a shootout with police in Sumter County, Fla., just north of Tampa, authorities said. The shootout followed a high-speed chase that involved police from two Florida counties.

-- From News Services