Florida Today from Cocoa, Florida on March 14, 1998 · Page 21
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Florida Today from Cocoa, Florida · Page 21

Cocoa, Florida
Issue Date:
Saturday, March 14, 1998
Page 21
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Mother Amy Billig was taped, killed 24 years ago Associated Press MIAMI It took 24 years for Susan Billig to accept that her daughter is dead. On Sunday, she invited friends ,to a memorial service for her 17-year-old girl, Amy, who was raped and killed by members of a motorcycle gang the night she disappeared March 5, 1974. Billig wore a black dress and smiled brightly as each guest arrived at her home in Miami's Coconut Grove neighborhood. .. "Having my friends around me is a tremendous sense of peace. We have to laugh and be merry because Amy would have wanted us to." H Billig, 72, has not known much Bill locks Associated Press "TALLAHASSEE Biological parents would have three days to change .their minds after giving their child up for adoption, under a measure considered Friday by the Senate. 7 The provision which would give parents the same amount of time consumers have to void big purchases in Florida was the most controversial of several major changes to the state's adoption laws being considered by the Senate Judiciary Committee. "This is going to have such a chilling effect on adoptions," said Charlotte Danciu, a Boca Raton adoption attorney. "People aren't going to be willing to adopt children if they think they can be Computer network helps isolated teen keep in touch Associated Press . MIAMI Matthew Drew is trapped in a hospital "bubble room" for the next two months after getting a bone marrow transplant to deal with a deadly form of leukemia. That kind of isolation could complicate the healing process for a gregarious and enterprising 15-year-old boy with lots of friends, an entrepreneurial spirit and a love of computers. -. But an ambitious, wireless video-computer network lets him Visit with friends, talk to his family or play tic-tac-toe with his doctor late at night. . The network at Jackson Children's Hospital lets him be a teenager. "Kids in this situation are isolated and they are scared to death," said his stepfather, Fernando Delmau of Plantation. "They talk to other people involved and that makes it more tolerable." The $100,000 wireless network, completed this week, operates with laptops that can be moved into different rooms and used from patient beds. A group of technology entrepreneurs who call themselves Man sentenced in drug deaths Associated Press - ' TAMPA Prosecutors applied a seldom-used federal law to sentence a man to 15 years in federal prison for giving heroin to two friends who inhaled it and died of 6verdoses. " Demian Gordon, 26, pleaded guilty in the March 15 deaths of George Bakun and Justin Hayden, both 24-year-old Tampa men. He was sentenced Thursday. ii .Federal prosecutors said he gave or sold 1,5 grams of heroin to the two men. A seldom-used federal statute that says a drug dealer may be held criminally responsible if a user dies of an overdose was used to prosecute him. 1 - The statute calls for a 20-year maximum sentence, but Gordon avoided that by pleading guilty and cooperating, prosecutors said. police records say Hayden used cocaine at Gordon's house and began having trouble. Hayden was rushed to University Community Hospital, where he was given an in jection to counteract the drug. After being released, he went back fe Gordon's house where he fell asleep in a rocking chair and later died. I Gordon found Hayden's body early the next morning, police records say. He waited for a half-hour before calling police. During that time, he hid the rest of his (Jeroin in his garage, authorities say. t Bakun, who also dropped by Cordon's house with Hayden, died in Is motel room thag night, according to police. finally lavs dauahter's memorv to rest IN FLORIDA peace since the night Amy failed to come home for dinner. The widow crisscrossed the country for years, following tips that her AMY BILLIG daughter was abducted and brainwashed." She held on to the belief that Amy was still alive. Friends supported her and admired her determination, even though the hope of finding Amy grew dimmer as time passed. "If it was your child, would you give up hope?" asked Wendy Jaffe, a family friend who attended the gathering. in adoption decision LEGISLATURE '98 taken away three days after the child is born." The House has another adoption bill without the provision that would let parents change their minds ready for floor discussion. "We think the revocation period . . . gives the birth mother a fair opportunity to give notice," said Sen. Tom Rossin, D-West Palm Beach. "(It's) an attempt to say OK, you have the consent, you have the power to go three days, but at that point it's a final consent." Another provision of the bill "The Young Metropolitans" and support the Jackson Memorial Foundation, helped raise money and donated time for the project. Direct Net and Symbol Technologies helped make it possible. Anthony Dublino, a vice president for Direct Net, said the wireless system is a private network that covers three floors of the hospital. One of the most valuable aspects for Matthew is being able to communicate with his doctor at odd hours, even talk about his surgery the night before the operation. "This makes my direct interaction with him much more continuous," said Dr. Alan Wayne, director of the hospital's bone marrow program and a faculty member at the University of Miami School of Medicine. "For an adolescent at the peak of freedom, this is cruel and unusual to their emotional well-being. This allows them to be less isolated." Matthew, speaking through his video-computer hookup, said: "I've been using computers since I was really young. But I learn new things everyday." -SAVE- LOT ItldiGEllii MLE I THIS WEEKEND ONLY j I All Florida Slot Machine Co. I I s2& 920 N. Hwy. A1A, Indialantic (Comer of Grose Pointe & North A1 A) North of 192-Near Buy, Sell, Trade, Repair & Restoration Reconditioned From I I s $1 IFF M3Y SLIT EIOMISIIECE THIS UUEEEIENE1 A V E Also Buying OLD: Juke Boxes, Music Boxes, Arcade Games, Cash Registers, Coke Machines, &k Gumball . ir.fi hi Safes, and Other Old Coin Operated Devices ( lit. I JiamiKrtr -in, m mmmr 0pen 10:30-4:30l M Imit 1 niermint DurrhoaA Oar tnnnnn t Cnt 0. Cum 1 GREAT GIFT IDEAS s,w iThe worst part of the whole thing is what Susan went through over the years. It's the saddest story I've ever heard. 5 5 Billig put her search to rest after a deathbed confession from a former Pagans motorcycle gang member. Paul Branch told his wife just before he died in December that he knew how and where Amy died. The convicted murderer said Amy was grabbed and taken to a "party" in the Everglades. She died after being drugged and raped. Her body was dumped somewhere in the massive swamp. During her years of searching, Billig endured taunting telephone would tighten controls on adoption attorneys and agencies, including how they treat adoptive parents and how much they can charge. "The attorney matched us with a birth mother who, quite frankly, put us through hell," an adoptive couple from Lake Worth told Rossin in a letter distributed to the committee. "We lost a total of $4,000 in expenses." The couple, whose attorney failed to tell them that the birth mother was a heavy drug user, said the adoption would have cost them $18,000. Adoption reform has been a hot topic since 1996, when the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal of a state court decision that allowed a child known as The computer has improved his life in the hospital "or else I would become a hermit." His parents said the system has done wonders. "He needs to keep a positive attitude," said his mother Allysan Drew. "He started watching funny movies and reading a lot, but it got old." Delmau said Matthew was getting very irritable before the network was set up, showing all the signs of cabin fever. "Since this came on line, he doesn't care getting poked or jabbed (by the hospital staff)," Delmau said. Matthew was conscious when he got his transplant and was still pushing the keys as they started the operation, said Drew, who has two other children. The idea of using computers to help hospital-bound kids reach the outside world is growing in popularity. Starbright World, an interactive computer network based in Los Angeles, now links hospitalized children with one another. The program, now in 11 hospitals, could Path Foods Indialantic Slot Machines $550 A V E Machines, I I I I j i s Peggy Burris, friend of Susan Billig calls from a man claiming to know where Amy was, claiming she had been trained as a sex slave. In 1996, U.S. Customs Agent Henry Blair was sentenced to two years in prison for aggravated stalking in connection with the calls. "The worst part of the whole thing is what Susan went through over the years," said friend Peggy Burris. "It's the saddest story I've ever heard." Friends attending the afternoon memorial said it served to bring peace to Billig. "She's been through more than at 3 days Baby Emily to stay with her adoptive parents. The state court ruled that natural father Gary Bjorklund gave up all parental rights when he broke up with the child's mother while she was pregnant. The mother, Linda Benco, didn't tell Bjorklund when she decided to put the child up for adoption. The ruling allowed the child to remain with her adoptive parents, Angel and Stephen Welsh of Plantation In an attempt to make adoptions more binding, the Senate bill would spell out what needs to be done to notify fathers of the upcoming adoption. expand to 100 hospitals by the end of 1998. That system emphasizes communication between children in one hospital communicating with children in another. Jackson officials say they didn't join Star-bright because they wanted a system with more flexibility. The Miami network allows links with the doctor and the patient's family using state-of-the-art tiny video cameras, microwave Internet access and the wireless network. Other children at the hospital have been able to stay in contact with each other and with family members in Latin America. Wayne said the system allows a level of intimacy between doctor and patient that had virtually gone out of style. o Q O D O MlZZ aiuS THURSDAY, FRIDAY, SATURDAY (9:30-5:30) AND SUNDAY (12:00-5:30) ALL FURNITURE INSIDE THE BIG TENT STARTS AT 50 OFF ALL SPECIAL ORDERS AND FURNITURE INSIDE THE STORE START AT A SAVINGS OF 30 SOME ITEMS IN THE TENT AT 50 OFF DINING TABLES COFFEE TABLES Q. BEDS LAMPS DRESSERS END TABLES PICTURES SOFAS & LOVESEATS LEATHER CHAIRS BOOKCASES AND MUCH, MUCH MORE o Don't be TEAK BOOKCASES f :'"3 In Stock Teak. Special Order in Light & Dark Pf '"jj Cherry, White & Oak f H f L REM Danish Interiors FLORIDA TODAY, Saturday, March 14, 1998 any other mother I've ever met in all those years of covering missing children and homicides," said Edna Buchanan, a former Miami Herald reporter who covered the Billig case for years. "It's the most enduring South Florida missing children's case, and it's touched the hearts of everyone." The gathering appeared to have an immediate affect on Billig. "She looks happier and more relieved than I've seen her look in the last 24 years," Buchanan said. Bryn Ingram was only about 5 years old when Amy, her babysitter, disappeared. But Amy changed her life, she said. Whenever Ingram challenged her curfew as a teen-ager, her father would remind her of what happened to Amy Billig. She'd give up the argument. "It changed the life of every Man innocent LYONS, From Back page At the time Lyons' financial dealings were making headlines after his wife was charged with torching a $700,000 waterfront home Lyons owns with convicted embezzler Bernice Edwards. Siemers quickly returned the money. He reported the incident to police at the urging of another Daddy's Doughnuts patron. In a police tape of his interrogation, Hutchins said he often picked on Siemers at the doughnut shop. Siemers is a diminutive man who testified he has trouble speaking and controlling his movements because he has cerebral palsy. BljgjajgjcLfajajgjgjgjajcLiajgL 9 ? ? P P V 3 p 5 www. isiandtite.com 3 POOL TOO COLD TO SWIM IN? 85 WATER YEAR ROUND 35C PER DAY! High Efficiency Pool Heater l ALL SIZES ON SALFJtfOW! MELBOURNE 253-2990 100 N. HARBOR CITY BlVD, U MILES N. Of 192) "ra"" 'StST UPHOLSTERY Sofa & Lovejjpii Leather Fabric Sofa & Loveseat, Multi Color 3 Pc Pit Group, Teal, Peach & Cream Color Green$3fij;C&veseat Black Leather Loveseat Green Leather Chair & Ottman late!! Hurry in for Best Buys! if 30x30 10300 30x36 11200 30x48 135 30x60 15600 30x72 21 600 30x84 23400 EKORNES STRESSLESS RECLINING LEATHER CHAIR & OTTOMAN Metal Frame Wood Frame Startins From Starting From 69900 67900 Financing Available U.S 192(436 5th Ave.) 1 o O 7B one in Coconut Grove," Ingram said. "It changed the way I thought walking home at night." Though Billig and her supporters no longer wonder what happened to Amy, there is still one unresolved matter finding Amy's killers. Miami Police Det. Jack Calvar is following up information from Branch's confession and hopes to solve the mystery. "If Jack Calvar has anything to say about it, they (Amy's killers) will be taken into account," Billig said. "They're all in jail, that's the problem." If the killers are found, the peace Billig felt Sunday would likely be pushed aside. "I don't know what I'd do," she said. "I guess what happened happened, but I don't think I could control myself at this point." in Lyons plot "This guy Arthur, we tease him. We probably tease him too much," Hutchins told police. "The bottom line on this thing is that it was a joke in bad taste." Pinellas Circuit Judge Douglas Baird sent Hutchins on his way with a little bit of advice after the verdict Thursday. "Frankly, I think you have some folks to apologize to," the judge said. He specifically mentioned Siemers. The judge's comments were echoed by jurors who said the panel had little difficulty in deciding that Hutchins may be mean, but is not a criminal. ' AW MAfiBLE INC. , 2.25 TON WAREHOUSE SAT 10-6, SUN 12-5 MON10-8, UIES-FRI 1M o B O D 1399 99900 1 84900 599" 699" 49900 Teak Dining Table (31x47), Two Leaves (19" Each) and 4 Lrimn3 v-nairs. rMAAa 749' 1 rT Plenty of Parking In Back of Store. 1 OAAJ O gi.u.i.i"! O csa v

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