Hostage

Saturday police were called to an apartment building on a report of a possible intruder at around 8 pm. When they responded to the building, they found there was no intruder.

Instead they found Georgina Martens, 44, (I have also seen her name written as Georgina Martins) who told them she had been held hostage in her apartment, by her boyfriend  William Christopher Smith, 53, . She had managed to escape and had taken refuge in a stairway.

Police were unable to make contact with Smith, so they called in hostage negotiators and the SWAT team. Attempts to make contact with Smith all were unsuccessful, after three hours. Police tried bullhorns and cell phones. At one point, they even tried tear gas to try to drive him out.

Finally, after all other attempts were unsuccessful the SWAT team entered the apartment about 4:18 am. There they found the body of Smith, dead from what they believe was a self inflicted gunshot wound. Authorities say they had never been able to make contact with Smith, and they never heard a shot.

During the stand off, other residents were escorted to the police station across the street. The investigation is continuing.

http://www.miami.com/mld/miamiherald/15213500.htm

http://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/local/southflorida/sfl-0806cdead,0,1209850.story?coll=sfla-home-headlines

Luckily the woman escaped. And luckily someone called police. But even after that, there was danger. The typical apartment will have neighbors on one or two sides, and above and below. One misplaced shot and there could still be a tragedy in another apartment. Police officers who respond could also be endangered.

What happened, what led up to the hostage taking, and the standoff is not being discussed in the media.

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Mother of 6

One day last month, El Tanya Conover’s mother asked her about the bruised lip, bruised face, skinned up knee and other injuries she had. “She said she woke up like that and didn’t know what happened. She had a blackout, and next thing she knew, she woke up on the floor, all sore and beat up.”

El Tanya, 29, had been married to her husband for 5 years and was the mother of 6 kids, ages 1 to 9 years of age. On August 3, about 3:45 am there was a fire at El Tanya’s home. Luckily, the children were all staying with their grandmother that night.

El Tanya’s husband Aaron Conover, 32, was injured when he jumped from a story window of the home. He was taken to the hospital with non-fire related injuries. After firefighters put out the fire, they found the body of El Tanya in a second floor bedroom.

Conover told police that two intruders broke into the home, one armed with a stick or a bat and the other with a gun. They demanded money and “smacked” El Tanya around, then took $200 from her purse. They also beat Conover unconcious. He says he regained conciousness when his feet started feeling hot, and the bedroom was on fire. He managed to escape by jumping out of the 2 nd floor window. He told investigators he had no problems with his wife, and he had nothing to do with the fire in the home.

Detectives found no signs of forced entry in the home, and no conclusive evidence the bedroom door had been kicked in as Conover had stated. Fire investigators found that the fire had begun in 2 or three different areas in the home. Fire investigators ruled it an arson. But the medical examiner says that La Tanya didn’t die from the fire. Cause of death was ruled strangling and blunt force trauma.

Police arrested Aaron Conover Friday and he was charged with the murder of La Tanya Conover.  Police say that he has confessed to the murder.

The 6 grandchildren are now in the care of their grandmother.

http://www.philly.com/mld/dailynews/news/local/15186057.htm

http://www.philly.com/mld/dailynews/news/local/15204726.htm

http://cbs3.com/topstories/local_story_217213309.html

http://cbs3.com/topstories/local_story_217213309.html

It was up to the grandmother to tell the children, what no grandparent should ever have to say. That their mother, her daughter was dead. “We’re just going to have to cuddle up together and cry to together.” She raised her children. Now in the midst of her grief over the loss of her daughter, she is taking on 6 more children. She will have to be not just their grandmother, she will have to become their guardian, and act as their parent.

6 kids, ages 1-9 years of age. Very young. Several won’t remember their mother. Several won’t understand what death really means. Mostly what the kids will understand is that their mother is not there for them and that they need her.

Starting a fire. Often tried as a way to destroy evidence. But not all the evidence will be destroyed, forensics is pretty advanced these days. And the very act of starting a fire creates more evidence to tell investigators what happened.