NATION IN BRIEF: Flooding revisits weary Ohio city

Flooding revisits weary Ohio city

FINDLAY, Ohio — Jarrod Steffan loaded his kayak with fans and shuttled them across his flooded street Tuesday to begin drying out his house. It was a drill he knew all too well.

Floodwaters slowly began to recede after soaking several hundred homes, the third major flood to swamp this northwest Ohio city in the past four years.

‘‘You can’t do anything but rebuild and go on,’’ he said.

The floods were part of the aftermath of storms that swept through the Midwest and South spawned flooding and tornadoes over the past two days, killing at least five people, including four in Tennessee.

A mix of melting snow and heavy rain threatened flooding in all 88 of Ohio’s counties, the National Weather Service said. The worst, though, was in Findlay, where the Blanchard River topped out at less than 51⁄2 feet above flood level Tuesday morning.

Day care owner seen shopping at time of fire

HOUSTON — Investigators said a home day care operator who left the children she was watching alone was shopping when a fire that killed four children began, according to a court document made public Tuesday.

Surveillance video shows Jessica Tata was shopping at a Target store about a mile away from the facility when the fire started Thursday, investigators said in a probable cause affidavit.

Investigators believe the fire, in which three other children were injured, was started by a stove top burner that had been left on.

Tata, 22, has fled to her native Nigeria since being charged in the fire. Authorities said Tuesday they are still trying to locate her.

Body of missing elderly Ohio man found in Tenn.

BELLEFONTAINE, Ohio — Authorities said the body of an elderly Ohio man who disappeared with his wife more than two weeks ago has been found in Tennessee.

Chattanooga police said dental records were used to identify 84-year-old Richard Russell. His body was found over the weekend.

A man suspected in the disappearance told police that he dumped their bodies in Georgia.

Samuel K. Littleton II was arrested last week in West Virginia, where officials found the car belonging to Russell and his 85-year-old wife, Gladis. Bellefontaine, Ohio, police said they believe the couple were killed in their home and put in the trunk of their car.

Woman behind acid attack hoax gets trial delayed

VANCOUVER, Wash. — An attorney for a woman who acknowledged splashing herself with drain cleaner in a bizarre hoax said he needs more time to review the results of a mental evaluation of the woman.

The Columbian reports a judge on Tuesday granted the request for a delay in the trial of 28-year-old Bethany Storro.

The mental evaluation is designed to determine if Storro could form criminal intent when she accepted donations after falsely claiming to be the victim of an attack in Vancouver, Wash.

Oil prices rise on Middle East unrest, protests

NEW YORK — Oil prices climbed Tuesday as Iran clamped down on anti-government protesters and unrest in the Middle East threatened to keep energy prices high for months to come.

Benchmark West Texas Intermediate for April delivery gained $2.66 to settle at $99.63 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. In London, Brent crude gained $3.62 to settle at $115.42 per barrel on the ICE Futures exchange.

The recent surge in oil has pushed up gasoline prices in the U.S. by nearly 20 cents per gallon in the past week. That’s the sharpest increase since September 2008, when Hurricane Ike shut down Gulf Coast refineries, according to the Oil Price Information Service. In 2005, Hurricane Katrina sent prices soaring about 45 cents per gallon in one week.

Officials: Harmful bacteria found at Playboy Mansion

LOS ANGELES — Los Angeles County health officials have found the bacteria that causes Legionnaires’ disease at the Playboy Mansion after 200 people who attended an event there last month became ill.

The Los Angeles Times reports Tuesday that Legionella bacteria was discovered in a water source at the Holmby Hills estate of Hugh Hefner.

County public health director Dr. Jonathan Fielding said, however, that officials haven’t ruled out that other bacteria or illnesses could have caused the outbreak.