Wyoming News Update

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Latest Wyoming news, sports, business and entertainment.

CARNIVAL WORKER-SEX ASSAULT

CASPER, Wyo. (AP) — A jury has convicted a man accused of luring a 5-year-old boy away from a Wyoming bowling alley and sexually assaulting him.

The Casper Star-Tribune reports https://goo.gl/Tho6Lk 34-year-old Joshua Winters was found guilty Thursday of aggravated kidnapping, first-degree sexual abuse of a minor and second-degree sexual abuse of a minor.

Prosecutors say he approached the child and offered him money to pay for video games July 18. According to court documents, the boy eventually followed Winters outside to a river, where the assault occurred.

Winters denied the allegations but said he was drunk that afternoon and that many of the details of what happened are hazy.

He was in Casper working as a food vendor at a carnival that was at the Central Wyoming Fair.

WYOMING WEATHER

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — A late spring snowstorm returned much of the Wyoming landscape to more of a winter scene and hampering travelers.

The Wyoming Department of Transportation closed a 50-mile stretch of Interstate 80 between Cheyenne and Laramie on Thursday because nearly a foot of snow had fallen. The highway was expected to remain closed most of the day. Eastbound lanes of I-80 from Rock Springs to Laramie were closed to ease traffic backed up west of Laramie.

Winter storm warnings were posted Thursday for areas that included Cheyenne, Laramie, Wheatland and Lusk. Up to a foot of snow was possible in Laramie with up to several feet in surrounding mountains.

Sporadic power outages occurred from snow weighing down tree branches.

Casper, Rawlins and Riverton were under a winter weather advisory.

MISSING MONTANA GIRL-SENTENCE

MISSOULA, Mont. (AP) — A registered violent offender who pleaded guilty to transporting a minor from Montana to Wyoming and having sex with her has been sentenced to 10 years in federal prison.

The Department of Justice says 61-year-old Rodney Lee Zahn was sentenced Thursday by U.S. District Judge Dana Christensen in Missoula for transportation of a minor with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity.

Prosecutors say Zahn befriended a developmentally delayed 16-year-old girl and her family in Sheridan in late July 2016 and left town with her early on Aug. 2. They were located two days later in Cheyenne, Wyoming.

Prosecutors say Zahn admitted he had sexual intercourse with the girl twice and that he knew she was 16.

Zahn was required to forfeit the pickup truck and camper he used to transport the girl.

DECAPITATED BODY-SENTENCE

CODY, Wyo. (AP) — A 53-year-old Wyoming man who pleaded guilty to killing and dismembering a suspected drug dealer has been sentenced to 25 to 35 years in prison.

John Marquez pleaded guilty Tuesday to second-degree murder in the death of Juan Antonio Guerra-Torres.

Marquez admitted killing Guerra-Torres in late December 2013 north of Cody, beheading him and cutting off his left arm and right hand. It took months to identify him after his body was found in January 2014.

Marquez testified he killed Guerra-Torres after longtime family friend Pedro Garcia Jr. told him the victim owed money to drug dealers who were threatening the family including Garcia's sister and her children with Guerra-Torres.

Garcia was sentenced to 25 to 40 years for aiding and abetting a murder while Sandra Garcia is serving 10 to 18 years.

BEAR 399-NEW FAMILY

JACKSON, Wyo. (AP) — A famous bear from Grand Teton National Park has come back to her usual territory with a new family.

The Jackson Hole News and Guide reports bear 399 had been spotted Tuesday with two cubs near Pilgrim Creek.

Park Service bear management specialist Kate Wilmot says she spotted what looked and acted like bear 399 with two new cubs along a road before they quickly went back into the woods.

Wilmot says the cubs looked about 3 ½ months old and less than 50 pounds. She says bear 399 appeared healthy.

The sighting had been good news for 399 fans, who were in dismay last year when her lone cub of the year was struck and killed by an unknown vehicle.

BANKERS' SURVEY

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — More stable crop prices have improved the economic outlook for rural parts of 10 Plains and Western states, but bankers expect little growth in the next few months.

The overall economic index for the region crept into positive territory above 50 at 50.1 in May from April's 44.6. This is the first time the overall index was above neutral since August 2015.

Creighton University economist Ernie Goss says the slightly better commodity prices helped improve the outlook, but the bankers surveyed remain concerned about farmers.

Bankers from Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming were surveyed.

MONTANA SPECIAL ELECTION-SANDERS

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — The campaign of U.S. House candidate Rob Quist has announced larger venues for two of Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders' campaign appearances in Montana on Saturday.

The Missoula event has been moved from the Wilma Theater to the Adams Center at the University of Montana. It begins at 11 a.m.

A Billings event has been moved from the Billings Depot to the ExpoCenter at Metra Park. That rally begins at 8:30 p.m.

Sanders is also scheduled to campaign on Quist's behalf at the Butte Civic Center at 3 p.m. on Saturday and at 11 a.m. Sunday at the Montana State University Strand Union Ballroom.

Quist along with Republican Greg Gianforte and Libertarian Mark Wicks are on the May 25 ballot seeking to replace Ryan Zinke, who resigned to become Interior secretary.

MINE PIT-BODY

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — An investigation is underway after a man's body was found at the bottom of a mine pit in southeastern Montana.

Rosebud County Sheriff Allen Fulton tells The Billings Gazette https://goo.gl/9uZsCh an employee at the Rosebud Mine near Colstrip found the body Thursday morning, and foul play is not suspected. An autopsy is planned for Friday.

Fulton says it doesn't appear to be an employee, and investigators have an idea of who it might be. The body had been there for a while.

No other information was released.

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