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Filed 11/15/2007 Updated after 4PM for next day...
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Today’s News Headlines from Alabama 810 News

  • Family and friends mourn loss of 17 year old Ben Stanford
  • Hokes Bluff man jailed on child sex charges
  • JPA increases pay for new executive director
  • Cleburne officials investigating fire death


Family and friends mourn loss of 17 year old Ben Stanford

Members of a ground search effort organized by the family of missing Talladega Teenager Ben Stanford discovered his body Tuesday afternoon. Authorities searching for Stanford made the announcement of the discovery at around 2 p.m. Tuesday. They said the body was found behind a Home Depot in Villa Rica, Ga., about 3/4 mile from where Stanford's car was found over a week earlier.    Carroll County Coroner Sammy Eady said that when he arrived at the scene there were “no visible signs of trauma” on the body. He said the body was pronounced dead at 2:39 p.m. Central time Tuesday, but the time of death likely would be sometime on Nov. 5. He said the victim was found lying on his back near the edge of the woods.

Eady would not discuss any probable cause of death.   The body was taken to the Georgia State Crime Lab for an autopsy.  Benjamin Stanford was last seen alive Nov. 5 in Anniston. His vehicle, a 2007 Jeep Grand Cherokee, was later found that same day along the interstate near Villa Rica. Over 150 volunteers had assisted authorities in the search for Stanford, including Equusearch founder Tim Miller, who flew to Alabama Monday to assist the family.  Stanford is a senior at Donoho School in Anniston and is the grandson of state Sen. Jim Preuitt, D-Talladega.



Hokes Bluff man jailed on child sex charges 

A Hokes Bluff man is being held without bond after he was charged Tuesday with sex crimes involving a child and making a video recording of those acts according to Etowah County Sheriff Todd Entrekin.  46 year old Martin Tracy McBurnette, was charged with first-degree rape, two counts of first-degree sodomy, sexual abuse of a child under 12 years of age, production of child pornography and first-degree possession of marijuana. Circuit judge Allen Millican has ordered that McBurnette be held without bond.  The Sheriff said that The charges stem from McBurnette allegedly engaging in sexual activity with a child who was 7 years old at the time and making video recordings of those acts. Entrekin said there could be other victims and anyone who might have come in contact with McBurnette is asked to contact the Sheriff’s Department.  District Attorney Jimmie Harp said the charges could result in a life sentence in prison.


JPA increases pay for new executive director 

The Joint Powers Authority’s job-search committee took the first step Tuesday in what they hope will lead to the selection of a new executive director for the JPA.  The committee Tuesday recommended a salary of $125,000 per year as the base pay. The price combines the salaries and responsibilities of the executive director and the JPA’s vacant marketing position. Chairman of the personell committee, Anniston Mayor Chip Howell,  estimated the total package with benefits would be worth around $140,000. The next step will be the selection of a head hunter to provide qualified applicants for the position.  JPA Executive director Dan Cleckler announced his resignation almost a year ago and has agreed to stay on until the JPA finds a replacement. 


Cleburne officials investigating fire death

Cleburne County officials are awaiting the results of forensic tests the death of a badly burned body of an man found in a burned out car five miles outside of Ranburne  Monday.  According to Cleburne County Coroner Rudy Rooks Ranburne volunteers firefighters responded to a car fire in front of a house at 460 County Road 691 around 7:30 p.m. Monday. Rooks said the two door Chevrolet was parked against a tree, which kept the man trapped inside. The body has been sent for an autopsy at the Alabama Department of Forensics Laboratory in Huntsville to rule out the possibility of foul play. Because of the body’s condition, investigators have been unable to make a positive identification. Rooks said he believes the body is that of a 73-year-old man who lived alone at that address. He said the man was a heavy smoker and suffered from Alzheimer’s disease.  Results of the autopsy are due back later in the week.

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