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Cheerleader's remains found in west Texas
Snyder, Texas • Remains found in a remote West Texas location last month are those of a 13-year-old middle school cheerleader missing since December 2010, authorities announced Friday. The body was found about 20 miles northwest of the girl's hometown of Colorado City.
An unidentified person contacted authorities after finding the remains near Lake J.B. Thomas in Scurry County on March 16, more than two years after Hailey Darlene Dunn's mother reported her daughter missing.
The girl's disappearance and the cause of her death remain under investigation, Scurry County Sheriff Trey Wilson said at a news conference Friday. The Scurry County District Attorney's Office received written confirmation of the identity of the remains on Friday, he said.
Texas Rangers informed the girl's mother, Billie Jean Dunn, on Friday afternoon at her Austin home, said her attorney, John Young. Dunn will be driving to West Texas to arrange her daughter's funeral, he said.
Air Force secretary stepping down
Washington • Air Force Secretary Michael Donley is stepping down after five years in the job marked by scandals surrounding aircraft contracts, sexual assaults and the mishandling of war dead. He is credited for improving the service's handling of nuclear materials.
Donley will leave June 21 to return to private life.
He was serving as the Pentagon's director of administration in 2008 when then-Defense Secretary Robert Gates tapped him to take the Air Force post. Gates had fired the service's chief of staff and secretary amid an embarrassing series of nuclear-related errors.
Donley got the nuclear mission back on track and worked to resolve disputes that repeatedly stalled the refueling tanker contract. But he faced criticism over the loss of service members' body parts at the Dover Air Force Base mortuary.
Fargo students forgo help with flood prep
Fargo, N.D. • Hundreds of high school students pitched in Friday to place 100,000 sandbags around Fargo and help protect homes against Red River flooding.
The familiar sandbag party that kicked off what city officials call "tuck it in weekend" began in 2009 when residents fought the first of three straight major floods. Students placed 700,000 sandbags in less than two days during the last flood in 2011. Officials and residents hope not nearly as many are needed this year.
The students sandbagged 134 homes throughout the city Friday and headed back to school after lunch was served by grateful residents such as Glenda Bro. About 40 students, mostly from Fargo North, laughed and sang as they tossed sandbags outside the home where Bro and her husband, a Fargo physician, have lived for 32 years.
Bro said it was a relief to have the sandbagging help, which she called "organized and calm." The singing helped.
"That's kind of contagious," Bro said. "Fear is contagious, and so is a happy spirit."
Rare 1913 nickel fetches over $3.1M
Schaumburg, Ill. • A rare century-old U.S. nickel that was once mistakenly declared a fake has sold at auction for more than $3.1 million.
The 1913 Liberty Head nickel is one of only five known to exist. But it's the coin's back story that adds to its cachet: It was surreptitiously and illegally cast, discovered in a car wreck that killed its owner, declared a fake, forgotten in a closet for decades, then declared the real deal.
It was offered for sale by four Virginia siblings at a rare coin and currency auction in the Chicago suburb of Schaumburg on Thursday, and sold for well over the expected $2.5 million.
The winning bidders were two men from Lexington, Ky., and Panama City, Fla., who bought the coin in partnership.