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PENNSYLVANIA: Four stabbed to death

A man who served prison time for a 1992 murder was charged Sunday with fatally stabbing four people, including a woman described as his former girlfriend. Michael Eric Ballard, 36, was charged with four counts of homicide for Saturday's rampage in Northampton, 70 miles north of Philadelphia. Police alleged that Ballard killed Denise Merhi, 39, her father and her 87-year-old grandfather along with a neighbor who rushed over to help. Friends told The Associated Press that Merhi and Ballard dated briefly about two years ago. In 1992, Ballard, then 18, was sentenced to 10 to 20 years in prison, according to court records in Lehigh County. He was accused of stabbing Donald Richard in December 1991 in Richard's Allentown apartment.


FLORIDA: Back from March attack

Walking with a slightly wobbly gait but beaming a grin, Josie Lou Ratley made her first public appearance Sunday since a March 17 beating left her in a coma. Steadied by her mother, Ratley, 15, acknowledged applause from the crowd as she appeared briefly at the Let's Break the Cycle . . . A Ride for Josie fundraiser at a Deerfield Beach restaurant. Ratley clasped hands with her mother, Hilda Gotay Ratley, as they briefly met with the media in the restaurant. She suffered brain damage when she was stomped in the head with steel-toed boots in the March attack. Wayne Treacy, 15, has been charged as an adult with first-degree attempted murder.


COLORADO: FBI assists in Nepal search

The FBI says it's helping the U.S. State Department in the investigation of a woman who disappeared while trekking alone in Nepal. Denver FBI spokesman Dave Joly said Sunday the agency is also working with Nepalese authorities on the disappearance of Aubrey Sacco, 23, of Greeley, who hasn't been heard from since April 20, when she e-mailed her parents from Nepal. She had planned to finish her trip around April 30. Her father, Paul Sacco, went to Nepal in May to look for his daughter and says he recovered her laptop computer and journal from a hotel.

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