Charlottesville Breaking News

Case closed: Abductor never found, public never warned

Eight months after an Albemarle County woman reported getting abducted from her home and being forced to drive at gunpoint some 300 miles down the Blue Ridge Parkway, authorities aren't close to an arrest– in fact, they've stopped looking.

"A thorough investigation by our office was conducted, which included multiple interviews," writes FBI spokesperson Dee Rybiski in an email. "Unfortunately, the investigation and information provided failed to develop any viable leads or identify any potential suspects."

The details of the the June 23, 2011 incident may have been hazy, but they were terrifying.

The then-42-year-old woman– a nurse named Kelly Porterfield– described her gun-wielding kidnapper as slim and short, wearing a mask and sunglasses, according to a news report at the time. The report noted that Porterfield was held captive in her red Honda Odyssey minivan all the way to an overlook in the mountains of North Carolina. When the alleged assailant took her into a forest, Porterfield somehow freed herself and found assistance from a passerby.

While authorities conducted an extensive search of the mountainous, wooded area in which Porterfield reportedly escaped an abductor's clutches, they came up empty-handed, and one North Carolina investigator suggested there might be more to the story.

"We're not sure how valid this claim is," Parkway Chief Ranger Steve Stinnett told ...

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Bully buster? VQR spurs UVA launch of 'respectful workplace'

A year-and-a-half after the suicide of the Virginia Quarterly Review's managing editor Kevin Morrissey launched a national debate about whether it was the scene of workplace bullying, UVA President Teresa A. Sullivan has launched the Respect@UVA program, a comprehensive workplace initiative designed to promote "kindness, dignity and respect."

But one workplace bullying expert thinks the reforms announced February 15 don't go far enough.

Gary Namie, director of the Workplace Bullying Institute, contends that bullying should be put in the context of real violence to avoid letting programs like this get "shackled by all its shortcomings."

In addition to educational resources, the UVA program includes a new complaint reporting system designed to allow employees to air grievances without fear of retaliation from their superiors, as well as a commitment to follow up within two business days.

"As president, I will hold myself accountable to the Commitment to a Caring Community," Sullivan says in statement, "and I will expect all leaders at all levels of the University to do the same. We will not tolerate retaliation against an employee who reports an incident."

As the...

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Fraud indictment: Former candidate Halfaday to plead guilty

Former City Council candidate James Halfaday was indicted by a Charlottesville grand jury February 21 on one count of election fraud, and his attorney says Halfaday plans to plead guilty when he goes to court next month.

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Mardi Gras on Second Street

No, this ain't New Orleans, but Fellini's #9 was doing its best imitation of Fat Tuesday last night. There was a giant blow-up jester in the back of a truck, purple, gold, and green beaded necklaces galore, and the occasional cross-dresser. And, of course, some delicious fatty food. Meanwhile, Charlottesville's own raucous Cajun punk band, Jolie Fille, had the costumed natives dancing and hooting. Laissez les bons temps rouler!

Up the street, Christopher Stelling, cousin of banjo-playing Hogwaller Rambler Jimmy Stelling, played to a less raucous crowd gathered in front of The Garage, Charlottesville's tiniest performance and gallery space, which stands beside Hill & Wood funeral home.

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Final day? Huguely arrives for judgment

The prisoner has arrived.

On this, the first and possibly only day of deliberations, the pile of media was larger than previously seen.

The first order of business was drawing lots to find out which jurors would be dismissed as alternates. It turned out to be two women, Juror #21 and Juror #256. This leaves a seven-man, five-woman jury to weigh the evidence.

Judge Edward Hogshire told the two alternates that they could be recalled, and he forbade them from discussing the case, looking at news reports, and even talking to members of the media.

"If someone should attempt to contact you," said Hogshire, "we'd like to know about it right away."

One of the remaining jurors asked what the foreman does, and the judge responded by saying that person is a "facilitator" and then mentioning that the court will provide pizza if the jurors elect to take a working lunch.

There was a suggestion that tha...

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