[Hpn] Homeless people MURDERED in Modesto CA USA (fwd)

Tom Boland wgcp@earthlink.net
Tue, 9 Jan 2001 11:52:21 -0800 (PST)

http://www.modbee.com/metro/story/0,1113,228137,00.html FWD Modesto Bee - Monday, January 08, 2001 HOMELESS ON EDGE AFTER KILLINGS By SUZANNE HURT BEE STAFF WRITER Recent killings of two homeless people have sent a chill through the streets of Modesto. Homeless people are taking precautions, at least temporarily, in the wake of the killings late last month. Some women living along the Tuolumne River are talking about going to the Modesto Union Gospel Mission. Other people are leaving the mission after one of the killings happened nearby. Some have left for other cities. "People are moving on. Families are moving on, going elsewhere," said Mark Gilliam, 41, while waiting to eat lunch at The Salvation Army last week. Some people staying at the mission are worried about the killing near Dry Creek and Yosemite Boulevard because it happened nearby and because they fear someone might get into the mission with a weapon, said Jason Van Clief, 25, who stayed there until Thursday. "I've been very, very scared," he said. Van Clief and three other men left the mission after a man they believe may be connected to the suspect in the latest killing threatened Van Clief for talking to police. They're not the only ones finding new places to sleep. "A lot of the homeless don't want to stay along the river. They're finding other places to stay, other means," he said. Some are finding shelter in abandoned houses. Single women sleeping near the river -- including some with children -- are moving their blankets, boxes and makeshift shelters closer to each other. Women are more afraid to walk alone and are keeping boyfriends nearby at night. Some who stay at the mission are going inside earlier. "I know a lot of people on the streets are scared," said Jackie Hughes, 34, a recovering drug addict who was getting a free checkup after leaving the streets three weeks ago. Relatives have come to get some of them off the street. One woman's brother showed up Thursday at Moose Park, where she was hanging out with other street people. He gave her $100 to pay her share of the rent so she wouldn't have to sleep along the river. "My brother's freaking over it," said Nedda Cartright, 45, as she sat on the grass. "He told me on the phone, 'You're not staying out there.'" Cartright said she feels safe when she's with Vietnam veterans such as Mike Bishop, 48. Younger women are leaving the streets altogether, Bishop said. "A lot of girls are running home," he said. Jesse Alfredo-Federico Origel, 18, has been charged in the case. Detective Jon Buehler, who is heading the investigation into Polly's death, said police sensed fear in the homeless community, and help from the homeless was critical in Ward's arrest. "Some of the homeless were concerned, no doubt, and that may have helped us," Buehler said. "When word spread (about the killing), it made the difference in catching him because he could have left the state and committed more crimes." Staff at several agencies said no one has come seeking shelter out of fear over the killings. Those agencies include Community Housing and Shelter Services, Telecare SHOP, Sunshine Place, The Salvation Army, the county's Community Services Agency and the Homeless Healthcare clinic. People are just sleeping "with one eye open," Gilliam said. "I'm not really worried about it. I have some pretty hidden places nobody knows about," he said. "You've just got to be real careful where you go to sleep and try to pick your friends real carefully." They're also watching out for one another. Al "Cowboy" Davis said they don't want any more problems with outsiders. "It's time for this to stop," said the 40-year-old, who has spent three years on Modesto's streets. "We're not out here to harm anybody. We stay to ours; they should stay to theirs." Niki Lane, an advocate for homeless people, said the killings highlight Modesto's need for a public shelter, which remains a distant possibility nearly a year after a community task force first proposed one. "It's needed now more than ever," said Lane, who is helping to start a local branch of the National Coalition on Homelessness. The "home guard" -- street people who have lived in Modesto for years -- say they're checking out newcomers more quickly now, but they won't be scared away. "There's a lot of Vietnam vets out here. We're not going anywhere. We've got a lot of friends," said Bishop, pointing out that the killings were not related. "It's not like it was in Denver where somebody was going around killing people." There's concern that some residents are minimizing the significance of the killings. "People are saying it's just another homeless person," said Teresa Olson, nursing supervisor for the Golden Valley Homeless Healthcare Program clinic. And people like Tara Blodgett worry they could be next. Blodgett, 20, has lived on the streets since she was 16. "I'm afraid, because when things like this happen, it reminds me there are still people like that in the world who would do something like this. They're still out there, and it could happen again," she said. "It reminds us the world is a dangerous place." [ Bee staff writer Daryl Farnsworth contributed to this report. ] END FORWARD **In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. section 107, this material is distributed without charge or profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving this type of information for non-profit research and educational purposes only.** Visit HPN for CONSTANTLY UPDATING NEWS on Homeless People: ************************************************************ 9000+ articles by or via homeless & ex-homeless people INFO & to join/leave list - Tom Boland <wgcp@earthlink.net> Nothing About Us Without Us - Democratize Public Policy ************************************************************