Death of lion-loving intern spurs state, federal scrutiny
Dunlap, Calif. • Central California officials say the 24-year-old victim of a fatal lion attack died quickly of a broken neck, probably from a heavy paw swipe to the head.
Fresno County Coroner David Hadden says Dianna Hanson was already dead when the 550-pound lion was tossing her body about its enclosure shortly after the Wednesday afternoon attack.
Several government agencies are investigating how the accident happened.
Hanson was a volunteer intern at the Cat Haven exotic animal facility in Dunlap, Calif., east of Fresno. Hanson was frustrated that the exotic cat zoo did not allow direct contact with animals, her father said.
The site owner said Thursday that safety protocols were in place but he would not discuss them because they are a part of the law enforcement investigation. Dale Anderson said that he’s the only person allowed in the enclosure when lions are present. “We want to assure the community that we have followed all safety protocols,” Anderson said. “We have been incident-free since 1998 when we opened.”
The bribery diet? It works, say researchers
Researchers are reporting success with using cash incentives to help people lose weight.
In a yearlong study, people were offered a chance to win or lose $20 a month if they met certain diet goals. They lost an average of 9 pounds compared to just over 2 pounds for other study participants who were not offered the chance to win money if they shed pounds. The diet study involved 100 obese employees at the Mayo Clinic.
Offering incentives is a tactic that many employers, insurers and Internet programs use to entice people to change bad habits like smoking or not exercising. Mayo researchers say it is important to keep the incentives going to maintain healthy changes.
Jury begins weighing cannibalism plot case
New York • Lawyers asked a jury on Thursday to decide whether a police officer was a monster with a badge and a dangerous desire to cannibalize women or a failed family man whose disturbing fantasies ruined his life but never put anyone in jeopardy.
The jurors began deliberating after hearing the conflicting portraits of Officer Gilberto Valle in closing arguments at his kidnapping conspiracy trial. They went home for the day without a verdict and were to return Friday.
Valle’s chats on fetish websites about abducting, torturing and eating at least six women, including his wife, “are no more real than an alien invasion,” defense attorney Julia Gatto had told the jury earlier Thursday.
The prosecutor argued that Valle took concrete steps to further the plot — looking up potential targets on a restricted law enforcement database, searching the Internet for how to knock someone out with chloroform and showing up on the block of one woman after agreeing to kidnap her for $5,000.