PHOENIX -- Kent P. Swanson Jr., 25,...

THE BALTIMORE SUN

PHOENIX -- Kent P. Swanson Jr., 25, son of the chairman of the county Republican Party, was killed Saturday in a helicopter crash in the Rocky Mountains near Kimberley in southwestern British Columbia, his family confirmed yesterday.

Swanson, the son of Kent and Patricia Swanson of the 13000 block of Harcum Road, was one of four passengers being flown to a mountain lodge for a course on dealing with avalanches and cross-country skiing, according to Royal Canadian Mounted Police. A search party found the crash site on Higgins Peak, 12 miles northwest of Kimberley, and the bodies of the helicopter's owner-pilot and his four passengers.

A cause of the crash has not yet been determined, police said.

Opening arguments to begin in trial of Jane DeCosta, 16

TOWSON

TOWSON -- Opening arguments are to begin this morning in Baltimore County Circuit Court in the trial of Jane Frances DeCosta, the Timonium 16-year-old charged as an accessory and conspirator in the slaying of Sheppard and Enoch Pratt Hospital counselor Sharon Edwards.

Edwards, 26, a single mother from North Baltimore, was fatally stabbed Oct. 8, 1995, by DeCosta's then-boyfriend, Benjamin Scott Garris, then 16. He received a life sentence without the possibility of parole July 15.

In the DeCosta trial, a jury of six men and six women was selected yesterday, a process that took most of the day. Jurors were asked whether they would face hardship sitting through the case, expected to last two weeks at most.

Police locate woman missing since Oct. 6

TOWSON

TOWSON -- County police have located a Cockeysville woman who had been reported missing in October.

Karen Lynn Rao, 27, had been missing from her home in the first block of Hazy Dawn Court since Oct. 6. Police made a public appeal for information in the case last week, and after receiving a tip, found her Saturday at a friend's house in the 3400 block of Yorkway in Dundalk.

She was arrested and charged with stealing her boyfriend's 1976 Ford Maverick.

3 schools mark openings of building additions

TOWSON

TOWSON -- Three county public schools celebrated the opening of additions to their buildings with ribbon-cuttings yesterday.

Perry Hall Middle opened an $8.8 million addition to accommodate 400 more students. Owings Mills and Woodmoor elementaries held ceremonies opening 200-seat additions at each school, which cost $700,000 each.

City police arrested 19 people on prostitution charges during the weekend in a vice crackdown in Charles Village, Guilford, Waverly and Harwood, and authorities vowed to return for more arrests.

Northern District Lt. Michael Tabor said his operations unit acted after receiving numerous resident complaints, and promised another sweep soon. "This way, the prostitutes and the johns will know that we will continue to target those areas," he said.

The arrests were made Friday and Saturday nights. Of the 19 arrested on solicitation charges in the sweep, dubbed Operation Roundup, 18 were women.

Home-buying seminar set for Latino community

The Patterson Park Neighborhoods Initiative will hold a free home-buying seminar, geared toward the Latino community, at 7 o'clock tonight at St. Michael's Church, 7 S. Wolfe St.

A second seminar will be held at 6: 30 p.m. Jan. 21 at Enoch Pratt Free Library, 158 N. Linwood Ave., to provide information about an education voucher program offered to homebuyers by East Fayette Street Community Development Corp. and the Abell Foundation. It provides a voucher for up to nine years of free tuition at the St. Elizabeth School to people who buy a rowhouse from East Fayette.

L To register for either seminar, call PPNI at (410) 522-6966.

Pub Date: 1/14/97

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