Across the area

Police believe parents smothered infant son


A couple charged with murder Tuesday after the January death of their infant are believed to have smothered the child, police said Wednesday.

Frances Nicole Howard, 23, of the 3300 block of Kenny Road, and Matthew Craig Reynolds, 20, of the 100 block of Stony Road, were arrested at their homes. They told police they found the infant boy in his bedroom on Jan. 5, according to Richmond County sheriff's Lt. Scott Peebles.

It wasn't until August that pathologists at the Georgia Bureau of Investigation's crime lab in Augusta were able to determine the death was caused by homicidal asphyxia, Lt. Peebles said. The infant, Damion Lee Reynolds, also had several wounds consistent with a pattern of abuse, including cuts on his mouth and a bruise to the head.

Student-made noise evacuates school

A loud explosion at Burke County High School led to an evacuation Wednesday morning, but it turned out to be no danger to students.

Students ran from the building about 7:45 a.m. after hearing a loud popping noise that "made them think a gun had been fired," according to Amy Nunnally, a public relations director for the Burke County school system.

It was later determined that a student used a plastic water bottle filled with bathroom cleaner and strips of aluminum foil to create the noise, Ms. Nunnally said. Several juveniles and an 18-year-old student were detained and questioned by the Burke County Sheriff's Office.

Sheriff Greg Coursey said they have not been able to make a positive identification of those involved based on the school's surveillance tape.

Police arrest suspect in home burglaries

Authorities have arrested a teenager who they believe is responsible for a series of home break-ins in two south Augusta neighborhoods in the past month.

Cyrus Dion Mincey, 17, of the 3600 block of Breman Street, was arrested Wednesday afternoon after a break-in at a home in the Pepperidge subdivision, according to Richmond County sheriff's Lt. Tony Walden. He is charged with five counts of burglary.

There have been 14 burglaries in the Pepperidge and Cambridge neighborhoods since the beginning of September, Lt. Walden said. In most cases, the suspect stole small electronic items and stored them in a vacant house in Pepperidge, police have said. In several incidents, police said someone broke into a home and made something to eat.

-- From staff reports