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Susan Smith-Harmon

Susan Smith-Harmon

   In 1986, a newborn wrapped in a red sweater was found abandoned in the bathroom of a fast-food restaurant. Nearly three decades later, the baby is all grown up and looking for her biological mother, and tens of thousands of people are trying to help.
   Katheryn Deprill began her quest on March 2 by posting a photo on her Facebook page in which she held up a sign that said, "Looking for my birth mother. ... She abandoned me in the Burger King bathroom only hours old, Allentown PA. Please help me find her by sharing my post."
   Deprill, a 27 year old married mother of three, figured the photo would be reposted by friends, maybe friends of friends. A week later, it's been shared nearly 27,000 times by Facebook users around the world. Deprill's story is rocketing around the media world, too.
   But there's still no sign of the mystery woman who left her in a restaurant bathroom.
   Deprill, an EMT who lives outside Allentown in South Whitehall Township, said there's so much she wants to tell her birth mom.
   "Number one is, I would really like to say, 'Thank you for not throwing me away, thank you for giving me the gift of life, and look what I've become,'" Deprill said Monday.
   She'd like to know her family medical history, as well. And she has so many questions about the circumstances of her birth and abandonment.
   "What made her do it? Why did she feel that she shouldn't leave me at a hospital? Was she going through a horrible time?"
   Deprill learned about her abandonment as a 12-year-old, when her sixth-grade teacher assigned the class to a project focusing on the students' family backgrounds. Deprill came home and demanded answers from her adoptive parents, Brenda and Carl Hollis. They slid a scrapbook in front of her that held newspaper clippings from 1986.
   The articles explained how a Burger King patron had heard a baby's cries and discovered Katheryn on the bathroom floor. How a restaurant worker then called police. How police were trying to track down the mother.
   "I comprehended it, but it still didn't sink in that it was me, that a mother could just lay her baby down and walk away. That is just mind-blowing to me," Deprill said.
   She launched her search with the blessing of her parents. In fact, it was her mother who suggested holding up a sign and posting it on social media.
   Deprill said she is "definitely not looking to replace my brothers and sister nor my adoptive parents, because I've had the best life. It was the best childhood ever."
   At the same time, "I would really like to see somebody who looks like me, and maybe I have (biological) brothers and sisters. ... I'm really frustrated. I just wish I knew more about her."
   Some people have told Deprill that her birth mother is unlikely to come forward for fear of being prosecuted. But Lehigh County District Attorney Jim Martin said there's a two-year statute of limitations on child abandonment.
   "Even if that were not the case," he said via email, "I believe most DAs would exercise sound discretion and not prosecute someone under these circumstances."

Jackets-Stars called off when Peverley falls ill

Tuesday, 11 March 2014 02:04 Published in Sports
   DALLAS (AP) — When the pounding of their sticks on the boards didn't get the attention of the officials, Dallas Stars players jumped off the bench and onto the ice while the game was going on.
   Teammate Rich Peverley had collapsed, and Stars coach Lindy Ruff was among those trying frantically to carry him into a nearby tunnel.
   After the game stopped and the chaotic scene played out, the 31 year old Peverley was stabilized, transported to a hospital and in good condition Monday night.
   But for several anxious minutes on the ice, the Stars stood in stunned silence, clearly in distress, unsure what had happened to a player just six months removed from undergoing a procedure to correct an irregular heartbeat.
   "When he dropped, it was red alert," Ruff said after the game between Dallas and Columbus was postponed with the Blue Jackets leading 1-0 in the first period. "Don't worry about the game. It was about getting the doctors. The players don't want to play, and I don't want to coach the team right now."
   Stars forward Erik Cole tried to rush into the tunnel just after Peverley was carried through, only to be turned away. He then gnawed at the thumb on one of his gloves while he waited for word on what the players would do next.
   Sergei Gonchar stared blankly near fellow defenseman Trevor Daley, who was hunched over on the bench, wiping his face with a towel.
   "I was scared," Ruff said.
   Play was halted at 6:23, and the postponement was announced about 30 minutes later.
   Dr. Gil Salazar of UT Southwestern Hospitals said Peverley was treated "successfully" for a cardiac event at American Airlines Center.
   "We provided oxygen for him," Salazar said. "We started an IV. We did chest compressions on him and defibrillated him, provided some electricity to bring a rhythm back to his heart, and that was successful with one attempt, which is very reassuring.
   "As soon as we treated him, he regained consciousness. He was able to tell me where he was."
   Many in the hushed crowd lingered long after the postponement was announced "as a result of the emotional state of the players on both teams caused by the medical emergency." The NHL didn't say when the game would be rescheduled.
   Peverley's wife, Nathalie, accompanied him to a hospital, and the Stars essentially told the Blue Jackets they weren't up for finishing the game.
   "They're shaken and they want to reschedule. We understand that," John Davidson, the Blue Jackets president of hockey operations, told Fox Sports Ohio. "They were shaken to the core."
   Peverley missed the preseason and the season opener because of a procedure to correct an irregular heartbeat, a condition diagnosed during a training camp physical. He made his Stars debut on Oct. 5 against Washington.
   "We monitor him closely for a different type of arrhythmia he has," Salazar said. "He does have a pre-existing condition, and the condition — a normal quivering of the heart that does not allow him to send blood to places where he needs to, in his brain and heart."
   Peverley sat out last week's game at Columbus because of an irregular heartbeat. He had felt strange after last Monday's game and couldn't fly. He played in Dallas' next two games before Monday.
   "There wasn't any concern," Ruff said. "Our doctors have done a fabulous job monitoring the situation."
   In 62 games this season before Monday, Peverley had seven goals and 23 assists.
   He was acquired last July from Boston with forward Tyler Seguin and defenseman Ryan Button for forwards Loui Eriksson, Reilly Smith and Matt Fraser, and defenseman Joe Morrow.
   "The first thing (Peverley) asked me was how much time was left in the first period," Ruff said.
   The Stars went to the airport after the postponement, and even had a scheduled departure for St. Louis that was earlier than it would have been if the game was played. Dallas is scheduled to play the Blues on Tuesday night.
   "He's going to be OK," Ruff said. "The care he's getting and the care going forward is the most important thing."

Attorney files lawsuit over Missouri slaying case

Tuesday, 11 March 2014 01:37 Published in Local News
   COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) - A newspaper report says the attorney for a man whose conviction in a Missouri sports editor's slaying was overturned has filed a civil rights lawsuit seeking $100 million.
   The Columbia Daily Tribune reports that Kathleen Zellner alleges fabricated evidence in Ryan Ferguson's case and a lack of a complete police investigation into the 2001 killing of Columbia Daily Tribune sports editor Kent Heitholt, among other things.
   The lawsuit is filed in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri. The newspaper reports that the suit asks for actual damages of $75 million and compensatory damages of $25 million.
   The Tribune reports that Zellner also demands a jury trial and names a total of 13 defendants, including the City of Columbia, the Columbia Police Department and Boone County.
 

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