Jovanna Vasquez, the once popular childcare provider, was sent
to county jail last Friday for violating a court order prohibiting
her from communicating with her three adopted children, whom she is
accused of mistreating. Prosecutors presented evidence that Vasquez
sent coded letters to her kids, now in protective custody. Vasquez
got in hot water with the court nearly six months ago for seeking
to communicate with her children, who reportedly are afflicted with
an associative disorder that prevents them from bonding adequately.
Last week, Judge Ochoa remanded Vasquez into custody pending her
October 16 court date.

Josiah Jenkins – the manager of this year’s Fiesta Rodeo – faces
misdemeanor animal cruelty charges because animal rights activist
Jolinda Hackett claims she saw rodeo workers use electric cattle
prods on nine calves to get them through the chutes leading to the
main pen. While legal in ranch work, cattle prods are prohibited
when animals are confined in chutes. Hackett, who took video images
upon which the charges are based, claims the Hot Shot cattle prod
delivers a 5,000-volt jolt. Jenkins denied breaking the law, saying
he used a “vibrator,” not a prod, and that it was only to
“persuade” the cows to move, just as a father removes his belt as
if to discipline a child. “Just seeing the belt is enough,” he
said. Hackett claims her videotapes demonstrate that the electronic
persuader was used while the cattle were in the chute, and not, as
Jenkins claimed, leading up to it.

A 60-year-old grandfather was shot and killed while sitting in
his car with his wife on West Islay Street. Frank Tacadena, a Santa
Barbara native who did upholstery work, had just dropped off his
granddaughter at his stepdaughter’s house when he was shot in the
neck at point-blank range. A police spokesman declined to discuss
the murder, but police arrested one suspect – John Manuel Lopez,
25 – on suspicion of accompanying the shooter to the scene of the
crime. The gunman was still at large as of press time.

A 56-year-old woman fought off an armed intruder into her mobile
home on Cacique Street. According to police, the woman was awakened
by a man holding a large knife to her neck. While she struggled,
her elderly father turned on the light, which so startled the
intruder that he dropped the knife. As he bent down to pick it up,
the woman repeatedly kicked him from behind. He fled. Arturo Lopez,
23, incriminated himself during a police search of the area with a
rambling story about being recruited to commit robberies.

Four high school students have been accused of vandalizing a car
belonging to the superintendent of schools for the greater Cuyama
Valley. Jan Hensley found her car dented, scratched, and smeared
with feces and urine after she attended a community planning
meeting Tuesday night. Deputies said the vandalism was in
retaliation for disciplinary action taken against one of the boys
last year.

A local man was convicted last Friday of molesting his
6-year-old niece. Edi Aristondo was found guilty of three felony
counts, and is scheduled to be sentenced October 15. He faces 15
years to life in prison. The girl said Aristondo began sexually
molesting her when she was four.

DNA analysis has linked two teenagers to the rape of a
15-year-old girl in Los Olivos. The victim was raped in April 2005
after becoming intoxicated at a friend’s home. One suspect has been
apprehended, but his name is being withheld because he was a minor
when the crime was allegedly committed. The second suspect, Sean
Hemmings, turned himself in on Tuesday.


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