News of the Weird 

Lead Story

According to a Phoenix New Times profile in June, 54-year-old William Windsor of Phoenix has for at least a year and a half lived as a baby girl: he wears frilly dresses, diapers, and bonnets, sucks on a pacifier, carries around a rag doll, eats baby food while seated in an oversize high chair (though he eats adult food as well), and sleeps in a giant crib. The diapers aren't just for looks: Windsor, formerly a Broadway actor and now "semi-retired," said he trained himself over a period of months to become incontinent, at one point chaining his toilet shut to avoid temptation. Although he's occasionally found women willing to change his diaper (including his ex-wife), he generally does it himself, two or three times a day.

Family Values

After a passerby found a 12-year-old boy and 6-year-old girl dragging suitcases and bags of clothing along a rural road near Niangua, Missouri, in June, prosecutors charged their mother, Roxanna Osborne, and her boyfriend, Timmy Young, with child endangerment (and suggested more charges might follow). The kids said Osborne had woken them that morning, told them to pack up and leave, given them $5, and gone back to sleep.

In June prosecutors were deciding whether to file charges against a couple in Crown Point, Indiana, who allegedly beat their 17-year-old son because he'd refused to let his sister borrow some of his underwear after she and friends went swimming in their clothes. When the boy took his underwear to his grandparents' house for safekeeping, police said, his enraged parents followed and the confrontation ensued.

Can't Possibly Be True

The Los Angeles Times reported in May that in 1999 Michael Carona, then the newly elected sheriff of Orange County, California, and one of his top aides deputized 86 people, at least half of whom were their friends, relatives, employees, or campaign contributors. The reserve deputies were granted power of arrest, and some were given guns, although none had undergone required background checks and not all had completed training. Even after a state law enforcement standards commission complained repeatedly and eventually withdrew its recognition of all 86 as peace officers, the county allowed 56 to keep their badges and 14 to keep their concealed-weapons permits.

Though every other town on Long Beach Island, New Jersey, has posted signs warning beachgoers of the dangers of riptides, Long Beach Township has not, the Asbury Park Press reported in June. Even though locals agree that many people are ignorant about the powerful currents and how to escape if caught in one, Township Attorney Richard Shackleton explained that the town has no legal duty to warn swimmers of natural conditions, whereas putting up signs creates the possibility that a jury might find the warning to have been insufficient and hold the town liable in case of injury or drowning.

Least Competent Criminals

Justin Breakspear, 18, was arrested in Framingham, Massachusetts, in May and charged with illegal possession of three firearms; police said it would be difficult for Breakspear to deny ownership of one, a .380-caliber pistol, given that he has a detailed image of the gun, including its serial number, tattooed on his hip. Also in May 25-year-old Jason McClaskey was hospitalized in Valhalla, New York, with burns covering 60 percent of his body. Evidence suggested McClaskey, who was under house arrest on burglary charges, had tried to burn the monitoring device off of his leg; he claimed he was lighting his grill when he accidentally set his clothing on fire, but there was no charcoal on the grill, there was no food anywhere nearby, and it was nearly six in the morning.

People With Issues

In May retired obstetrician Parviz Modaber, 73, was banned from entering Clarke County, Virginia, following his fourth conviction for methodically dumping bags of garbage along U.S. 340. His therapist said Modaber held an intense grudge against Virginia, where he formerly lived and practiced, for having prohibited him from delivering babies in the 1980s; Clarke County just happened to be near his current home in Charles Town, West Virginia. Several of Modaber's arrests resulted in part from the efforts of county resident John Crawford, an electrical contractor. After picking through the trash for information about the culprit, Crawford joined a singles' club Modaber belonged to and attended as many as 30 times, trailing Modaber home afterward in hopes of catching him littering.

Recurring Themes

Living with goats: Carlton Cantrell of Aiken, South Carolina, was charged with animal cruelty in May for keeping a herd of nearly 200 goats in his 1,200-square-foot house; the three feet of hay covering the floor was saturated with manure and urine, and the goats had gnawed through most of the walls. (Cantrell himself slept in his truck.) And a woman in Saarburg, Germany, was evicted in June for sharing her rented house with 43 goats, which had badly chewed up the interior and left foot-high piles of droppings in the garden outside.

Undignified Deaths

In Fort Worth in January, an intoxicated woman who'd gotten out of her car to inspect the damage after a collision was killed when a beer truck plowed into the cars from behind; the truck driver, too, was found to be intoxicated. And in June a police officer in Gaston County, North Carolina, summoned to a roadside emergency scene accidentally ran over the victim, a 22-year-old man, upon arrival; despite witnesses' having told a 911 dispatcher the man was breathing, authorities later claimed he was already dead when the squad car hit him.

The Continuing Crisis

In May, Canada Post notified Christine Charbonneau of Orleans, Ontario, that it reserved the right to stop delivering mail directly to her house unless she modified her front step: the step is 30 centimeters high (about 12 inches), and Canada Post letter carriers aren't contractually required to climb steps higher than 20 centimeters.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): illustration/Shawn Belschwender.

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