Lead Stories

In October, Miriam Flores, serving six years for robbery in Mexico City, was selected as Miss Mexico Jailhouse in a pageant that featured 14 of the city’s female inmates. During the same month, Pham Ngoc Tam won first place in a nationwide beauty contest for female prison guards held near Hanoi, Vietnam. (A press report said Pham is “probably best described as ‘handsome.'”)

In October, Richard Evans, a member of parliament in Australia, proposed that the country eliminate all cats within 25 years. Evans offered evidence that cats have killed off nine native species of wildlife and said that a fatal virus should be released on feral cats. He also said that domestic cats should be neutered until they die out and that in the interim cat curfews and a registry should be put in place.

Awesome Duuude!

In October, Sidney de Queiroz was hospitalized in Sorocaba, Brazil, after a barroom fight left a five-inch knife blade partway inside his brain. The blade remained in his head for a week while doctors pondered how to remove it without causing more damage. Finally, after nine hours of surgery, the knife was removed.

In Huntsville, Alabama, in November, Justin Lee McKinney, 24, was impaled by a 20-foot-long steel pipe that went completely through his chest after his truck rammed a chain-link fence. Said one of the surgeons who successfully removed the pipe: “If anyone [at the accident site] had pulled that pipe out, he would’ve died [of blood loss].”

In November a Calgary, Alberta, man who was brushing his teeth in his office collapsed and fell face first on his toothbrush. The bristles penetrated an inch into the man’s eye socket, but ophthalmologist Rob Mitchell said he would suffer no permanent injury.

In July in Denver, Nicolas Villarruel, 29, was hospitalized after a machine that packs explosive devices into car-air-bag detonators blew up in his face, leaving one explosive lodged in his nose. Because the explosive is activated by air, surgeons in lead-lined gowns removed the device with Villarruel’s head underwater.

In July, Jesse James Taylor, 32, after fighting with his girlfriend’s 16-year-old son over rent money, drove himself to Methodist Hospital in Pike-ville, Kentucky, with a meat cleaver stuck in his head and part of a butcher knife in his back. After surgery he was released the following day.


In September in Andover Township, New Jersey, Paul Stiller, 47, was hospitalized and his wife injured after a quarter stick of dynamite blew up in their car. The couple had lit the dynamite while driving around in their car and tried to toss it out the window to see what would happen. They failed to notice that the window was closed.

Among the latest highway truck spills: a load of frozen french fries on I-70 in Columbia, Missouri, in July; a pickup truckful of ricotta cheese in Providence, Rhode Island, in July; 21 tons of glass plates in Davenport, Iowa, in July; 30,000 cans of Milwaukee’s Best beer in Belpre, Ohio, in August; 12,000 roofing nails (which punctured tires of about 50 cars) in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, in September; and 103,000 eggs on Highway 92 near Winterset, Iowa, in July.

Sports News

To make sure she wouldn’t be disqualified from competing in last summer’s Olympics, Brazil’s female heavyweight judo champion Edinanci Fernandes da Silva, 19, underwent surgery in May to remove her partially formed testicles, which had been causing abnormally high levels of testosterone. “I’m a normal woman,” said da Silva.

Thinning the Herd

Benjamin Arley Ortega suffocated in October in Napa, California, after his head got stuck between a wall and the ceiling of the storage shed he was burglarizing. In April, Rafael Miettunen drowned near Cleveland, Tennessee, as he was making a getaway on a Jet Ski he had stolen. And in November, Rex C. Stark, 36, drowned in a pond near New Castle, Kentucky, where he had tried to hide from a state trooper who’d chased him after a car accident.


The Sexton family made News of the Weird in May 1994 when sex-abuse charges were filed in Canton, Ohio, against the mother, Estella, alleging that she had sexually assaulted one or more of her kids either alone or with her husband, Eddie, who’s now on death row in Florida for killing a son-in-law who knew he’d smothered the man’s baby for excessive crying. (The paternity of the baby is in dispute, as several of the Sexton kids say their sister’s baby was actually fathered either by Eddie or by one of the kids.) In November the Sextons’ son Jamie, 20, was charged with aggravated murder in Canton after allegedly setting a fire to kill a former friend.

Send your weird news to Chuck Shepherd, Chicago Reader, 11 E. Illinois, Chicago 60611.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): illustration by Shawn Belschwender.