TRAPHILL, N.C. (AP) – Search teams combed mountain terrain Sunday for a 12-year-old Boy Scout who disappeared during an outing.

About 10 Scouts and the adult leaders of Troop 230, from Greensboro, noticed that Michael Auberry was missing lunch Saturday in Doughton Park, which is part of the Blue Ridge Parkway.

The troop had gone on a hike earlier Saturday, and the boy stayed behind with an adult because he wanted to sleep in, said David Bauer, a parkway ranger.

After the troop returned and ate lunch with Michael and the adult, the troop noticed the boy was missing from camp. Searchers found part of his mess kit less than a mile away overnight Saturday, Bauer said.

“At this point we’re looking at every possibility,” Bauer said. “The most probable thing is that he walked away, went out in the woods and went to investigate.”

Michael’s parents joined the search. “We’re really hopeful,” his father, Kent Auberry, told the Winston-Salem Journal.

Acquitted in rape, guilty in slaying

CHILTON, Wis. (AP) – A man who spent 18 years in prison for a rape he didn’t commit was convicted Sunday of murdering a photographer, whose charred bones were found in a burn pit outside his home.

Steven Avery, 44, put his head down and shook it when the verdict was read. He faces a mandatory life prison term for killing Teresa Halbach, 25, on Halloween 2005 near his family’s salvage yard.

Halbach disappeared Oct. 31, 2005, after going to the yard in rural Manitowoc County to photograph a minivan that Avery’s sister had for sale through Auto Trader Magazine. Avery had called that morning to request the photo, testimony showed.

A few days later, Halbach’s vehicle was found in the Avery salvage lot under branches, pieces of wood and car parts. Investigators then spent a week on the 40-acre property and found charred fragments of her bones in a pit behind Avery’s garage and in a barrel, along with her camera and cell phone.

Two years before Halbach died, Avery was released from prison after serving 18 years for a Manitowoc County rape that DNA analysis showed he did not commit. He later settled a wrongful-conviction lawsuit against the county for $400,000 and used it for his defense.

After the verdict was read, Halbach’s brother, Mike Halbach, 24, told reporters that he was pleased and that he believed his sister’s spirit guided the jury.

“What matters is that Steven Avery is going to be in prison for rest of his life, which from the start is what we wanted,” he said.

Maryland closes notorious prison

JESSUP, Md. (AP) – Citing inefficiency and concern over employee safety, state officials closed a 128-year-old maximum security prison on Saturday after secretly moving its inmates to other prisons over the past few weeks, according to a newspaper report.

Public Safety and Correctional Services Secretary Gary D. Maynard said he began working on plans to close the Maryland House of Correction in Jessup hours after a correctional officer, Edouardo F. Edouazin, was stabbed there on March 2, the (Baltimore) Sun reported Sunday.

Edouazin lived, but others involved in attacks at the prison haven’t been so lucky. Last summer, three prisoners were killed and a guard was stabbed to death by two inmates.

Over the last two weeks, inmates were secretly moved in groups of 15 to 40 in vans and buses during the day, said John A. Rowley, acting commissioner of the Division of Correction. Inmates weren’t told until the morning of their move that they were leaving, and they weren’t told where they were going, officials said.

The last few dozen of the 842 inmates the prison had housed were to be moved Saturday. Most went to other facilities in Maryland, but 97 of the “most disruptive” inmates went to federal prisons across the country or state facilities in Kentucky and Virginia.

Other state prisons have enough room to accommodate the influx of prisoners from the House of Correction, Maynard said. Savings on overtime expenses for officers will cover the cost of moving inmates and reimbursing other states and expenses will be covered in the department’s current budget.

, he said.

The maximum-security Jessup Correctional Institution and the medium-security Maryland Correctional Institution-Jessup, which are adjacent to the House of Correction, will remain open.

The prison’s 438 employees will move to other facilities in the region.

Union leaders have long complained about safety conditions at the prison.

“It’s been a dangerous prison for a long time for both inmates and staff,” said Sue Esty, interim executive director of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Council 92.

The configuration of the House of Correction makes it hard to control inmates, said William W. Sondervan, who ran Maryland’s prisons from 1999 to 2003,

“The architectural design was from 1878,” Sondervan said. “It was big and it was sprawled out. We had maximum-security inmates in dormitories and more than we should have had there.”

Gov. Martin O’Malley told the Sun he had been considering closing the prison when Maynard presented the idea to him two weeks ago.

“As long as I can remember, people have been saying we should close the House of Correction,” O’Malley said. “I’m very proud it’s our first order of business really in cleaning up our prisons.”


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