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NATION IN BRIEF: Southwest finds cracks in more planes

The Associated Press . Emergency personnel search the scrub on the side of the road near Oak Beach, N.Y., Tuesday. Investigators have expanded their search of a remote, densely overgrown stretch of a New York barrier island as they hunt for more victims of a possible serial killer.

The Associated Press . Emergency personnel search the scrub on the side of the road near Oak Beach, N.Y., Tuesday. Investigators have expanded their search of a remote, densely overgrown stretch of a New York barrier island as they hunt for more victims of a possible serial killer.

Southwest finds cracks in more planes

DALLAS -- Southwest Airlines Co. said Tuesday it finished inspecting its grounded older planes and five of them have cracks in the aluminum skin.

That's two more than the airline found by Monday afternoon.

Southwest said operations were returning to normal after nearly 700 flights were canceled Saturday through Monday.

Southwest grounded 79 older Boeing 737-300 planes after a similar jet sprang a hole in the roof Friday on a flight from Phoenix.

Fan beaten at game may have brain damage

LOS ANGELES -- Doctors say a San Francisco Giants fan who was beaten and badly injured at Dodger Stadium is showing signs of brain damage and remains in critical condition.

A Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center neurosurgeon said Tuesday that Bryan Stow of Santa Cruz suffered a severe skull fracture and bad bruising to his frontal lobe.

Dr. Gabriel Zada said Stow remains in a coma and that he's showing signs of "brain injury and dysfunction."

Meanwhile, Los Angeles Police Det. Jose Carrillo said investigators are checking an unconfirmed report that three men in Giants gear were struck by the same attackers before Stow was knocked to the ground and hit his head on the pavement.

Grim Sleeper killer may have 8 more victims

LOS ANGELES -- A South Los Angeles mechanic charged with the "Grim Sleeper" serial killings of 10 women over two decades might have killed eight other women, police said Tuesday.

Detectives have uncovered evidence that connects Lonnie Franklin Jr., 58, to six women missing from 1982 to 2006, a police news release said.

Three of the women were linked to Franklin by "strong circumstantial evidence" found at his home, while the other three were known to have frequented Franklin's neighborhood prior to their disappearance and "shared similar lifestyles," the statement said. Most of the 10 known homicide victims were prostitutes who worked an area just blocks from Franklin's home.

Police expand search for bodies near NY beach

OAK BEACH, N.Y. -- Investigators have expanded their search of a remote, densely overgrown stretch of a New York barrier island as they hunt for more victims of a possible serial killer.

Eight bodies have been found in the last few months on the north side of Ocean Parkway, a highway leading to Long Island's popular Jones Beach, about 45 miles east of New York City. On Tuesday afternoon, searchers moved to the south side of the road.

The bodies of four missing prostitutes were found in December while investigators were searching for a missing woman. A fifth body was found last week and the remains of three more were found Monday.

Michigan couple to walk 2,500 miles for wedding

CANTON TOWNSHIP, Mich. -- A Michigan couple is planning a truly long wedding march. Joseph Crist and Laura Brunett are going to walk some 2,500 miles to get to their wedding in Las Vegas this fall.

The happy couple told Detroit television station WJBK that they plan to leave Canton Township in Wayne County in mid-April, and that they expect the trek to prepare them to spend a lifetime together.

They hope to be in Las Vegas by September and plan to marry at nearby Lake Mead.

The 24-year-olds met in middle school, and got the idea for the trip from the book, "The Lost Art of Walking," by Geoff Nicholson.

Space junk threatening space station

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- A small piece of space junk drifted dangerously close to the International Space Station on Tuesday, prompting NASA to order the three astronauts to seek shelter in their attached capsule.

Mission Control gave the order after determining there was not enough time to steer the orbiting outpost away from the space junk.

The debris -- about 6 inches -- is from a Chinese satellite that was deliberately destroyed in 2007 as part of a weapons test. It was projected to pass within three miles of the space station, warranting a red threat level, NASA's highest.

Just last Friday, the space station had to move out of the way of an orbiting remnant from a two-satellite collision in 2009.