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FIREMAN JUST OUT OF HOSPITAL AFTER BURNS TO RETURN TO JOB

A 21-year-old firefighter whose hands were severely burned during a wildfire that killed four others plans to return to the job.

"You have to get on with your life," Jason Emhoff said at a news conference Thursday, a week after he was released from the hospital.

The Forest Service firefighter was hospitalized for nine weeks after the Thirty Mile Fire in a federally designated 8,500-acre research natural area.

Emhoff was only a few yards away from four crew members who died on a rocky slope in their emergency fire shelters July 10.

He was among 10 firefighters and two campers who survived the inferno when it blasted through the narrow Chewuch River Canyon in the northern Cascade Range.

Emhoff's hands are still splinted with special burn gloves, and his legs, abdomen, neck and face are scarred.

His left hand was burned nearly to the bone, the skin came off, and the nerves were destroyed.

His mother, Jeanne Emhoff, who was at the news conference, sighed when her son said he'd return to firefighting. She said she wants to find a way to keep better track of him.

"I'll have to give him a pager or something," she said.

Four admit role in swindle involving McDonald's games

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) -- Four people pleaded guilty to conspiracy charges in what prosecutors say was a $20 million embezzlement scam involving McDonald's promotional games.

So far, 21 people have been indicted in the theft and distribution of high-value game pieces from the fast-food chain's promotional games, including Monopoly and Who Wants to Be a Millionaire.

Friday, four entered guilty pleas in federal court.

Gloria Brown, 43, of Jacksonville; Victor Marchitello, 52, of Harrison City, Pa.; Linda Baker, 48, of Westminster, S.C.; and Noah Dwight Baker Sr., 49, also of Westminster, face five years in prison and potential restitution -- $300,000 for Brown, $639,000 for Marchitello and nearly $1.5 million for the Bakers.

More arrests are expected within the next month, lead prosecutor Mark Devereaux said.

The alleged mastermind, Jerome Jacobson of Lawrenceville, Ga., has pleaded innocent. The indictment alleges that since the late 1980s, Jacobson, security director for a firm McDonald's had hired to run its Monopoly games, embezzled more than $20 million worth of winning game pieces.

Girl, 9, kidnapped by mother
found dead after standoff

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. (AP) -- A 9-year-old girl who was kidnapped by her mother last month was found dead at a campground after an 11-hour standoff between police and the mother and her boyfriend, police said.

When authorities stormed the couple's tent about noon Friday, they found the girl's mother, Lisa Ann Platz, 31, and Ames N. Csucsai, 35, with what appeared to be self-inflicted knife wounds, authorities said.

Authorities did not release details about how the girl, Rebecca Aramburo, was killed.

Both adults had slashed wrists, and Csucsai also had a slash mark across his throat, according to South Lake Tahoe Police Officer Charles Owens.

Platz was treated for superficial wrist wounds and booked on suspicion of murder and kidnapping, Owens said Friday evening.

Csucsai underwent surgery and was also released into police custody late Friday evening, a hospital nursing supervisor said. He was booked on charges of murder, being a fugitive and on a federal charge of flight to avoid prosecution, authorities said.

Man who booby-trapped rival's bed gets 15 years

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) -- A man who booby-trapped the bed of his lover's husband with a bomb has been sentenced to 15 years in prison.

Ricardo Diaz, 22, was sentenced Friday, two months after he was convicted of attempted first-degree murder. The bomb was discovered and didn't go off.

Diaz had testified that he wanted only to scare Elmer Rivera, not kill him, when he planted the device under Rivera's bed in May 2000.

Rivera's wife, Nayades Ortega, 26, was sentenced to 18 months in prison in May after pleading guilty to attempted first-degree murder and arson. The judge said he believed she was under Diaz's control.

Diaz testified he built the bomb because Ortega told him that her husband was abusing her. The plan failed when Rivera discovered an open door, decided to search his house and found the bomb.

Bruce Lehr, Diaz's attorney, said his client was duped by Ortega into planting the device.

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