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Exclusive: The Strange Case of Long Island’s Stolen Mummy Head

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York [dropcap]T[/dropcap]he sun was setting on Long Island’s longest heat wave when Elaine Colbert allegedly shouldered through the locked side door of a brick-faced Lindenhurst home and stole an ancient Egyptian mummy head.She initially knocked, but got no answer. Growing concerned about the friend she was there to see, Colbert knocked harder and louder. A neighbor overheard the commotion and told Colbert that her friend—the mother of her late ex-boyfriend, whom she visited monthly—had died.“I heard some banging,” the witness later told Suffolk County police, according to court documents detailing the incident. “A few minutes later, Elaine came back, and she had a glass case that had a mummy head in it. Elaine wrapped the mummy head in a towel and said it was hers.”Although the case got little coverage, aside from a brief mention in a local news outlet’s police blotter, it easily ranks as one of the weirdest, most macabre thefts in recent memory on LI.It all started on Catskill Avenue shortly after 8 p.m. Monday, July 15, 2013—a sweltering week when LI broke its 20-year record for the lengthiest heat wave with weather worthy of the Sahara. The neighbor who witnessed the bizarre incident told Michael Snidersich—who still lives in the house he shared with his late mother. He in turn called 911. Four days later, Colbert was arrested.When the victim reported the theft to police, he told investigators that the mummy head was 4,000 years old and worth $35,000. But the mummy’s identity is unclear and its value remains open to debate.Colbert was originally charged with second-degree burglary, which is punishable by up to 15 years in prison. Last year, prosecutors dropped that charge and replaced it with two lesser counts: trespassing and petty larceny. That came after much head-scratching at her initial court appearance.“Say that again?” Judge Paul Hensley said when Assistant District Attorney Melissa Grier told him what the 56-year-old woman was accused of stealing. “Mummified head?”Colbert’s first defense attorney was equally baffled.“I don’t know the value of a mummified head at this time,” her court-appointed Legal Aid lawyer, Adam Markou, conceded when prosecutors asked Hensley to set bail for Colbert at $15,000. After the counselor argued that Colbert should be released without bail, the judge set her bail at $200—all the cash her family told Hensley they had at the time.Later, Colbert hired Mineola-based attorney James Pascarella, who negotiated a deal with prosecutors that spared her from landing in the tombs.In February, Judge Derrick Robinson granted an adjournment in contemplation of dismissal—known as an ACOD for short—that let Colbert avoid either going to jail or admitting to the crime in open court. As long as she has no contact with the criminal justice system for six months, the case will be dropped and sealed. If she abides by those terms, it will be dismissed on July 30, just over two years after the mummy caper. If she doesn’t, she faces up to a year in jail.“My client is giving up any rights to the mummy head which is involved in the allegation,” Pascarella told Robinson at the hearing on Feb. 5.Pascarella said authorities never had a chance to estimate the value of the mummy head because “there were other issues with the case.” Robert Clifford, a spokesman for Suffolk County District Attorney Tom Spota, did not respond to a request for comment on the mummy’s value.“Our position is my client never stole it,” Pascarella told the Press, adding that Colbert claimed her friend gifted the mummy head to her. “She had permission to be there, and she had permission to have the head.”MUMMY SLIDEEven murkier than the mummy head’s identity is why someone would want to steal it. A few clues were exhumed from Colbert’s signed statement to investigators describing the alleged theft.“I only broke into the house and took the mummy head to protect it,” she said in the statement, according to police. Pascarella claims that Colbert only signed the statement; the police wrote it.Colbert’s elderly friend kept the mummy head in a glass case on a serving table in the dining room. “I ran through the house and went straight for the mummy head in the dining room because it was [her] pride and joy,” Colbert wrote. “I picked up the mummy head and put it in my car and drove home. When I got home, I put the mummy head on my computer table with a cover on it. When I had it at my house, I thought to myself, ‘Now what am I going to do with it?’”Colbert wrote that the woman had “told me she smuggled the mummy head from Egypt in a vase sometime in the Eighties. She said she had a mummy foot also, but I never saw that.”After the crime victim’s son reported the mummy head stolen, Suffolk authorities seized it from Colbert. To ensure the head wasn’t severed in modern times, investigators sent the remains to the New York City Medical Examiner’s Forensic Anthropology unit for testing.“We found that it was an ancient mummified human head without any forensic significance,” Julie Bolcer, a spokeswoman for the agency, told the Press. While the investigators eliminated the possibility of the head being linked to any unsolved missing persons or murder cases, they did not determine exactly how “ancient” it is.Snidersich countered that Colbert never had any rights to the mummy head. He said that the mummy head had not been smuggled, but was purchased legally. When he got it back from Suffolk authorities, he said the mummy’s mouth was missing a tooth or two.“My dad got that piece off consignment,” says Snidersich, recalling the purchase in the 1970s. “I was there when he got it… He was going to resell it here.” For reasons unknown, the family decided to keep the head instead. When his mother died two years ago, Snidersich inherited the mummy head—but only after his surviving brother said that he didn’t want it, he said.The family had been told that the head was “procured” from the Valley of the Nobles in Egypt, but that is difficult to verify.“It was not illegal to bring Egyptian antiquity into the country back then,” he says in his home decorated with Egyptian art. “I don’t know if it is or not now…”Experts say that the ban on selling all antiquities in Egypt was initiated in the early ’70s“My dad wasn’t hiding it,” Snidersich says. “It was wrapped in a towel in a piece of luggage. The guy at Customs unrolled it and said: ‘Who’s this, your uncle?’” He laughed at the memory. The mummy head was allowed to enter America.When Snidersich was growing up, he and his brothers called the mummy head Kharis, from The Mummy horror movie franchise. When one of their brothers admitted he was afraid of it, the others would always wait for him to fall asleep and place the mummy head near his bed. Now, Snidersich hopes to sell the mummy head, which his family believed to be a priest of Amun during the Eighteenth Dynasty, which ruled ancient Egypt through 1292 BC.RETURN OF THE MUMMYRobert Brier, a renowned Egyptologist at LIU Post, said that he would need to see the mummy head in the flesh to verify that it’s real, but that it looks like a credible mummy head from photos that this Press reporter showed him. But he doubts the family’s claims.“There’s always a story that comes with it,” he says. “I don’t think it’s worth more than $5,000.”Regardless of whether its resale value is closer to that of a used car or a new luxury sedan, the Lindenhurst mummy head may be only one of two mummies on LI. The other resides at the Vanderbilt Museum, Mansion and Planetarium in Centerport, which is about to celebrate its 65th anniversary in July.“No one has ever indicated that they have ever seen another mummy” on LI, says Stephanie Gress, director of curatorial affairs at the Vanderbilt Museum. The closest museum with a mummy is in Brooklyn. Gress notes that it’s possible there’s one in a private collection somewhere in Nassau or Suffolk but she’s unaware of it.In 1931 William K Vanderbilt II, a legacy of the American railroad dynasty, paid £280 for his museum’s mummy from a merchant in Cairo. That cost is estimated to be between $18,000 and $29,000 today, when adjusted for inflation and the exchange rate, and it could be worth more given its rarity.For decades, the Vanderbilt mummy has been the center of one of the museum’s most popular educational programs, drawing busloads of students eager to see it. But it’s also the subject of debate.“The whole culture of displaying human remains is a very contentious practice,” Gress says. “Some people find it offensive…It’s a struggle to make sure it’s done in a respectable way.”Back in Lindenhurst, the head of “Kharis” is back on the kitchen table in the glass case from which it was stolen. Where it will roll next is anyone’s guess.last_img read more

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India to play friendly vs Oman

first_imgNew Delhi: India will be playing an International Friendly against Oman on December 27 in Abu Dhabi as part of their preparation for the forthcoming AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019, it was announced on Monday. Oman are currently ranked 84 in comparison to India on 97. IANS Also Read: Sports Newslast_img

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Dzumhur among the 56 best Tennis Players

first_imgThe latest ATP list was published yesterday and it has a great importance. Apart from the fact that Đoković set a new record in the number of points (16.950), yesterday’s list is also showing who is going to the Olympic Games in Rio.The best 56 tennis players on the rankings who meet conditions for competing in the Olympic Games are going to Rio de Janeiro.Conditions are quite simple. Four players from one country can perform in a single, and players must be members of the Davis Cup three times in the past four years.Among the 56 players who entered the Olympics with yesterday’s rankings is Damir Džumhur, and remaining eight places in the tournament will be taken by tennis players who will be invited.Thirty six of the tennis players who are better positioned than Džumhur on the ATP rankings (Džumhur is 87th) will not go to the Olympics. Four of them quit the tournament while 31 of them do not meet condition for the number of competitors from one country or they lack performances in the Davis Cup. Aljaž Bedene does not have the right to compete because he changed sports citizenship during the Olympic cycle.Tennis players who are better positioned than Džumhur but will not go to Rio are: Rafael Nadal (4th), Dominic Thiem (6th, quit), John Isner (17th, quit), Nick Kyrgios (17th, quit), Kevin Anderson (19th), Feliciano Lopez (22nd, quit), Bernard Tomić (23rd, quit), Benoit Paire (25th), Jack Sock (27th, quit), Ivo Karlović (28th, quit), Lucas Pouille (29th), Albert Ramos-Vinolas (32nd), Jeremy Chardy (33rd), Aleksandar Zverev (38th), Steve Johnson (39th), Pablo Carreno Busta (43rd), Marcel Granollers (45th), Nicolas Almagro (47th), Nicolas Mahut (49th), Giudo Pella (50th), Guillermo Garcia-Lopez (53rd ), Adrian Mannarino (55th), Denis Kudla (56th), Aljaž Bedene (58th, has no right to perform), Ernests Gulbis (59th), Paul-Henri Mathieu (60th), Taylor Fritz (65th), John Millman (66th), Rajeev Ram (72nd), Inigo Cervantes (75th), Mihail Južni (76th), Pierre-Hugues Herbert (79th), Tommy Robredo (81st), Rogerio Dutra Silva (83rd), Kyle Edmund (84th) and Dustin Brown (86th).Here is the list of all players who ensured performance in the Olympic Games:1 Novak Đoković2 Andy Murray3 Roger Federer4 Stanislas Wawrinka5 Kei Nishikori6 Tomaš Berdych7 Miloš Raonić8 Richard Gasquet9 David Goffin10 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga11 Marin Čilić12 David Ferrer13 Gael Monfils14 Roberto Bautista Agut15 Giles Simon16 Viktor Troicki17 Pablo Cuevas18 Phillipp Kohlschreiber19 Aleksandr Dolgopolov20 Joao Sousa21 Fabio Fognini22 Federico Delbonis23 Grigor Dimitrov24 Sam Querrey25 Andreas Seppi26 Marcos Baghdatis27 Andrej Kuznjecov28 Gilles Muller29 Vašek Pospišil30 Borna Ćorić31 Martin Kližan32 Fernando Verdasco33 Ričardas Berankis34 Paolo Lorenzi35 Mihail Kukuškin36 Thomaz Belucci37 Malek Jaziri38 Denis Istomin39 Jiri Vesely40 Dudi Sela41 Diego Schwartzmann42 Ivan Dodig43 Lukaš Rosol44 Ilija Marčenko45 Donald Young46 Jevgenij Donskoj47 Victor Estrella Burgos48 Dušan Lajović49 Robin Haase50 Leonardo Mayer51 Damir Džumhur52 Gastao Elias53 Daniel Evans54 Tejmuraz Gabašvili55 Lu Yen-Shun56 Karen Hačanov(Source: klix.ba/photo: kameleon.ba)last_img read more

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Has Education Gone from ‘Mess to Best?’

first_imgThe administration of former Education Minister Etmonia David Tarpeh did not survive to enjoy reform methods her predecessors instituted at the Ministry when she and her team were relieved of their respective posts during the year under review. Some of those dismissed with Tarpeh included deputies for instruction, administration, and assistant minister for teachers’ education, among others.The outcome of Tarpeh’s efforts was public criticisms, which prompted President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, to describe the sector as a “mess.”The saga emanated from the poor performance of Liberian students across the country on public examinations. Shortly after the President’s description of the sector, she replaced the Tarpeh administration with a “new” team headed by George K. Werner last June.Mr. Werner’s team was appointed to straighten out a sector that has faced widespread criticisms from within and outside the government as being “a mess.”Despite that decision, the sector continues to face challenges which Mr. Werner admitted were damages stemming from “decades of neglect, theft, war and the Ebola outbreak.” He said the need to overhaul the entire education system cannot be overemphasized. Shortly after he took over as Minister, Werner said, “The current education system does not provide all Liberian children with the opportunity to learn and become active citizens able to serve our economy.” Any Improvement?Since the President appointed Mr. Werner and team, their efforts to improve the quality of learning have remained mostly on policy documents to the extent that the public believes the implementation of transformation in education was still far away.Werner came under fire during the year under review for his unilateral, controversial policy aimed at creating a conducive learning environment for all students and teachers and to adjust the school calendar to revert to the normal cycle, which gives students more days in school – a move which also came under intense criticism. To protest that decision, high school students took to the streets in July and physically blocked the Presidential convoy. Some of the students lay prostrate on the ground in front of the Presidential motorcade. The students were reportedly angry with the announced decision by Minister Werner to temporarily shut down all schools and reopen in September to make way for Liberia to return to its normal academic calendar that was interrupted by the outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus disease (EVD). What mattered to the students the most was the pronouncement that they were not going to get their promotion statements.In the aftermath of those events, Werner’s decision to adjust the school calendar dominated headlines during the year under review, but he quietly made some inroads when he began the distribution of one million textbooks to public schools for grades 5-9 in the four core subjects of Mathematics, Science, Social Studies, and English. An additional 1.3 million Supplementary Readers were distributed to public schools for grades 1-4. The textbooks and 20,000 teachers’ guides were also distributed along with instructional materials including atlases, maps, magnets and globes. The President, addressing the nation in November said that her administration has been able to increase school enrollment to 1,531,489, with girls’ enrollment at nearly 50 percent. “By 2017, we expect this number to be 2, 603, 531,” the President announced.Teachers’ PayOne aspect that is said to be responsible for the decline of education in postwar Liberia is teachers’ assignments, particularly to the rural areas of the country, with salaries and housing allowances not commensurate with those posts. Almost all teachers assigned in the rural areas reportedly often abandon classes at the end of every month to run after the ministry’s pay team. As a result, sometimes schools are deserted for a week or so leaving students with no alternative but to return to seeking other means of livelihood. In some instances, teachers reported that they were actually permitted to go to the Ministry of Finance by the county’s education board in order to run after their salaries, a practice which continues to affect academic activities.Whether the coming academic year will see teachers, particularly in the rural areas, staying in the classroom instead of running after paychecks for most of the academic term is the question.MOE program to train teachers has produced at least some 10,441 teachers, but their presence is not being felt in the classrooms. It remains to be seen whether the government will put into practice what it has declared on paper that it is constructing comprehensive school facilities in the 15 counties to include housing for teachers.During the year in review, the MOE said it continues to make steady progress by developing a national strategy for transformation through which the education sector is expected to “perform a very crucial role in translating and transforming the undertaking.”The MOE also established the Education Sector Development Committee to facilitate policy and program in education that identified six policy areas. Those areas include the development of Early Childhood Education, Basic Education (grade 1-9) and Secondary Education (grade 10-12), Teacher Education, Vocational, Technical and Science Education, Education Management and Supervision, and Higher or Tertiary Education.Though the challenges are enormous, MOE said it is committed to ensuring that all children have access to early childhood education, which is the basis to improve primary education and beyond.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

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WIFE REMEMBERS TRAGIC HUSBAND WITH POIGNANT PICTURE ON EVE OF FIRST ANNIVERSARY

first_imgThe late Alan McSherryThe wife of a man tragically killed following an alleged hit and run has released a picture of her late husband on the eve of his first anniversary.Popular Alan McSherry, 48, was found dead at Ardfarna, outside Bundoran on August 25th last year.The much-loved surfer from Boyannagh had allegedly been struck by a car while returning home. His heartbroken wife Jo will remember her husband at his first anniversary mass at Our Lady Star of the Sea Chapel, Bundoran this Saturday at 7pm.Jo sent Donegal Daily this picture of Alan which she said she would like used with the notice of his first anniversary mass.Alan, who was originally from Liverpool, was known for his great sense of fun and kindness.It is that sense of fun which will be remembered by many of Alan’s friends who are also planning a sponsored fancy dress cycle from Bundoran to Mullaghmore and back on Sunday next starting at 2pm. All funds raised will go towards Ozanam House.A local woman, Lisa Roohan (24), also from Boyannagh, has been charged with dangerous driving causing Alan’s death and will appear at a future court sitting. WIFE REMEMBERS TRAGIC HUSBAND WITH POIGNANT PICTURE ON EVE OF FIRST ANNIVERSARY was last modified: August 21st, 2014 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:Alan McSherrybundorandeathJo McSherrylast_img read more

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