The Battalion. (College Station, Tex.) 1893-current, March 30, 1992, Image 3

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Monday, March 30, 1992
The Battalion
Page 3
Grisly homicide shocks Houston
Police, friends of slain 24-year-old woman mobilize to find murderer
HOUSTON (AP) — Calls have been pour
ing in to police from people offering possible
tips in the grisly murder of a young woman
whose decapitated, limbless body was discov
ered alongside a highway.
"People are horrified about this," said
Houston police homicide Sgt. Mike Peters.
"People are shocked by it. Thank God there's
still something out there that still shocks peo
More than 100 people have called police
with reports and other possible tips in the slay
ing of 24-year-old Cecilia Reyes.
Reyes, who was two months pregnartt, van
ished Thursday night after leaving work and
was identified by her husband by photographs
Saturday, a day after her torso was found.
Her employer. Fiesta Beverage Mart, is of
fering a $10,000 reward for information lead
ing to her killer's arrest and conviction.
The murder has shocked her friends, some
of whom were posting missing-person fliers
when they learned that a woman's torso had
been found Friday.
"Cecilia was such a very nice person. That's
why everyone's in a state of shock to know
they would torture her — cut her up like an
animal," said co-worker Shirvy Stewart.
The 5-foot, 120-pound woman was last seen
about 9:20 p.m. Thursday when she finished
her shift at the liquor store in southwest Hous
ton. She was reported missing Friday morning.
A cleanup crew working alongside U.S.
Highway 290 East in northwest Houston found
the torso about 1:30 p.m. Friday.
Her head was gone and both legs had been
cut off just above the knees. Her left arm was
missing, but her severed right arm was found
next to her body.
The torso was in a plastic garbage bag.
wrapped in a blue blanket, inside a cardboard
furniture box tied with twine.
Reyes' van was found Saturday evening
about a mile from where the torso was
An autopsy is being conducted to determine
exactly how she died. Investigators said exami
nations did not indicate she was raped.
Friends and relatives described Reyes as a
quiet, serious, hard worker who moved to
Houston from El Salvador with her mother
and older sister nine years ago.
She married Oscar Reyes, a maintenance
man also from El Salvador, about three years
ago. The child would have been their first.
Gerald Sellers, manager of the Fiesta, hired
Reyes six years ago and promoted her 2 1/2
years ago to the beverage mart.
"She was friendly, very considerate and full
of life," he said.
Researchers move toward cancer cure
Experimental therapy 'marks' genes,
helps doctors evaluate chemotherapy
searchers say a new use for gene
therapy that helps them track the
effectiveness of bone marrow
transplants could be the first step
toward curing some forms of
The technique involves trans
planting bone marrow cells that
have been genetically "marked"
for identification, said Dr. Albert
Deisseroth, who is leading a re
search effort at the University of
Texas M.D. Anderson Hospital.
"I want to convey the message
that there is hope; there are new
directions. We are opening new
doors and eventually we'll be
able to implement strategies to
help people," Deisseroth said.
"They may be less toxic, easier to
endure and more effective.
That's our goal."
He said the procedure could
help make possible genetic ma
nipulations to cure deadly can
cers for which current treatments
are relatively ineffective, the
Houston Chronicle reported Sun
"The progress being made
may be faster where the diseases
are invariably fatal," he said.
"The balance sheet for the poten
tial gain is clearer."
Scientists alter cells genetical
ly either to distinguish them
from other cells or to change
their behavior.
Deisseroth has used the mark
ing technique in a patient with
chronic myelocytic leukemia,
which causes an overproduction
of white blood cells and ultimate
ly is fatal. He plans to try the pro
cedure on nine more patients.
His goal is to alter bone mar
row cells so they are more resis
tant to the toxic effects of
chemotherapy, a cancer treat
After 14 months of work on
the processes, Deisseroth says he
is applying for federal approval.
Researchers say the marking
project is important because it
could give doctors a way to eval
uate bone marrow transplants
using a patient's own marrow. In
the procedure, called an autolo
gous transplant, doctors reintro
duce the patient's own bone mar
row after eradicating the cancer.
Deisseroth said he marks the
patients cells by introducing a
gene that causes resistance to an
If a patient suffers a cancer re
lapse after a transplant and the
cancer cells carry the marker,
then the marrow caused the re
lapse. If the marker is not pre
sent, chemotherapy was inade
quate, he said.
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Methadone outpaces heroin as top killer in '91
HOUSTON (AP) — More Houston-area res
idents died last year from using methadone,
than by overdoses of heroin and other opiates
the synthetic substance is used to overcome, a
newspaper reported Sunday.
Fourteen people died of methadone-related
causes last year in Harris County, while eight
deaths were attributed to overdoses of heroin,
morphine and other opiates, the Houston
Chronicle reported Sunday in a copyrighted
Deaths attributed to methadone increased
to an all-time high in Harris County despite in
creased efforts by state and federal authorities
to regulate the use of methadone.
Health officials blamed the jump on the syn
thetic drug's illegal sale.
"Obviously, we have to intensify our ef
forts," said Ken Davis, chief investigator of the
Texas Department of Health's food and drug
division, which regulates methadone clinics in
the state. "We've got a problem that we need
to take care of."
Critics of methadone say the statistics prove
the substance is as deadly as the disease it is
used to treat.
"If somebody were selling bad booze on the
streets, everybody would be up in arms," said
A1 Dugan, a former chairman for the Cenikor
drug treatment program in Houston. "The
problem is that methadone is very dangerous
and can be fatal almost before anybody real
izes it."
John Moseman, head of drug diversion for
the Houston office of the U.S. Drug Enforce
ment Administration, said the deaths reflect
the rising availability of methadone coupled
with increased difficulty in obtaining heroin.
"They (addicts) are going to go for whatev
er is the easiest to obtain, and the cheapest,"
Moseman said.
Methadone, developed by the Germans
during World War II as a substitute for the
painkiller morphine, is now used in drug treat
ment to suppress heroin and morphine with
drawal symptoms.
Health officials say methadone can be dan
gerous if its use is uncontrolled, and an over
dose can be fatal.
"If you're a novice user, or if you take some
body else's methadone and you're not a habit
ual user of opiates, it's very easy to overdose
and die," said Dr. Joseph Coppola, a professor
of emergency medicine at the University of
Texas Medical School.
Of the 20 methadone clinics operating in
Houston, only two are non-profit. The rest are
private, profit businesses.
The ensuing competition has fueled abuses
of the substance and increased its availability
on the streets, officials say.
A key source of that availability appears to
be dosages addicts take home from the clinics.
If they comply with state and federal atten
dance and drug screening requirements, ad
dicts may take home up to six daily doses of
"I don't think there's any other source for
the street sales," Davis said.
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Aloha means adios;
Hawaii wants out
HONOLULU (AP) - The na
tives are getting restless.
It's an awakening 100 years in
the making for the native Hawai-
ians, whose aloha spirit of sharing
and easygoing lifestyle left many
of them at the bottom of the mod
ern social ladder in the land of
their ancestors.
Now they want to be recog
nized by the federal government
as a separate nation.
They want $10 billion in com
pensation for the past use of their
lands by federal and local govern
ments and for the overthrow of
their queen.
And, they want huge federal
grants to fulfill a neglected land
trust program set up 70 years ago
to give native Hawaiians homes
and farms.
As next year's centennial of the
overthrow of Hawaii's monarchy
approaches, some 30 Hawaiian
civic and community groups and
political organizations have
formed a loose coalition to look
into gaining sovereignty for
40,000 native Hawaiians and
160,000 part-Hawaiians.
Their key ally has been senior
U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-
Hawaii. Inouye who has
promised to introduce measures
to rreate an independent Hawai
ian government within the frame
work of the federal and state gov
ernments, allow Hawaiians to
bring lawsuits against the federal
government over the management
of the major land trusts and pro
vide compensation for past
"I think the iron is hot. The
time is right to strike," Inouye,
who is of Japanese descent, told
Hawaiian leaders when they re
cently presented him with propos
als for federal legislation.
Two huge land trusts that
make up 41 percent of all land in
the islands are the economic mo
tive in the sovereignty issue and
date back to the 1893 bloodless
overthrow of Queen Liliuokalani
by a political faction made up pri
marily of white business leaders.
Historical records, however,
show that a force of 162 Marines
from a Navy ship took up a posi
tion near lolani Palace on the pre
text of guarding American prop
erty and preserving the peace be
tween heated rallies being staged
by the opposing political factions.
Upon annexation by the Unit
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The Association of
Former Students
Spring Senior
Induction Banquet
Tuesday & Wednesday, April 7 & 8, 1992
All May & August ’92 graduates are invited
Complimentary tickets may be picked up in the
MSC Hallway, Across from Post Office
March 31, April 1 & 2 - 9 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Student I.D. Required to Pick Up Tickets.
This is your invitation to the induction of the Class of ’92
Compliments of
The Association of Former Students