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By United Press International   |   Aug. 9, 2005 at 6:30 AM   |   Comments

Man charged with kidnapping retarded bride

COOPER LANDING, Alaska, Aug. 9 (UPI) -- A man who eloped with a mildly retarded Alaska woman was arrested on a kidnapping charge on the first day of the honeymoon.

Mark Coulter, an auto mechanic, moved to Alaska from Minnesota after a divorce and settled in Cooper Landing on the Kenai Peninsula. He met the woman, identified only as K.H., a year ago while he was volunteering at a public radio station, the Anchorage Daily News reported. The couple became friendly at church.

K.H., who is adopted, suffers from Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder.

K.H.'s parents say that they asked Coulter to stay away from their daughter for a while because they wanted to see if he had her best interests at heart. They said their daughter is very attractive and had a history of involvement with unsuitable men, some of them criminals or drug users.

Coulter said that he thought K.H.'s mother was too controlling.

The mother said that she did not realize, when she asked police to find her daughter, that Coulter might end up facing a criminal charge, one that could carry a long prison term if he is convicted.


Marbles tournament down a few flickers

FREDERICK, Md., Aug. 9 (UPI) -- The 12th annual U.S. Marbles Championship tournament in Maryland has a new 20-year-old winner, but only half the normal number of flickers turned up to compete.

Top prize in Sunday's competition was $500, but instead of about the usual 40 entrants, only about half showed up in Frederick County, Md., 45 miles northwest of Washington.

Organizers say theirs is one of the most challenging tournaments in the world because, unlike others, there is no age limit and repeat champions can return to compete, The Washington Post reported.

Some of this weekend's competitors were old-timers who had won the sport's most famous event, the National Marbles Tournament, held each June since 1922 in Wildwood, N.J.

However, the weekend's champ was Robbie Nicholson of West Virginia, who out-flicked finalist Jeremy Hulse, 16, a high school junior from Hagerstown, Md., by a score of 50-34.


'Da Vinci Code' lures tourists to chapel

ROSLIN, Scotland, Aug. 9 (UPI) -- The former curator of a 15th century Scottish chapel warns that the thousands of visitors lured by its role the "The Da Vinci Code" could destroy it.

"The headache will not simply be crowd control and concern of footfall through the building," Judith Fisken said in a letter to the editor of The Scotsman. "It will be souvenir hunters removing pieces of stone, taking rubbings, carving their initials and generally leaving litter."

Rosslyn Chapel, six miles south of Edinburgh, has already seen the number of annual visitors increase from 38,000 to 68,000 because of the novel. The upcoming movie, starring Tom Hanks and partly filmed at the chapel, is expected to bring even more.

The chapel, measuring only 69 feet long and 35 feet wide, was founded in 1446 by Sir William St. Clair, the last St. Clair prince of Orkney. Dan Brown, the novel's author, described the chapel as "the cathedral of codes" and there have long been rumors that the Knights Templar hid some of their secrets there.

Stuart Beattie, the current director of the chapel, said he expects to be able to handle any influx of visitors, possibly by requiring timed tickets for entrance.


Was pub built on Welsh prince's grave?

CARDIFF, Wales, Aug. 9 (UPI) -- Welsh historians say that a story that the country's last independent prince was buried on monastery land under what is now a pub could be true.

Llywelyn ap Gruffudd was killed in 1282 during a rebellion against King Edward I. The king made his infant son, later Edward II, Prince of Wales after promising the Welsh a ruler who spoke no English.

Llywelyn's burial site is unknown. But Dr. John Davies of the Abbey Cwmhir Heritage Trust told the Western Mail that the site of the pub on the Llanrumney Housing Estate in Cardiff is a likely spot.

The site has an interesting history. It was given to the Franciscans by Edward I's son-in-law and was later the residence of Sir Henry Morgan, one of the most notorious buccaneers. John Hodder Moggridge, who owned Llanrumney Hall in the early 19th century is said to have found a stone coffin containing a headless body concealed in a wall.

Davies said that the English king would not have wanted Llywelyn's grave to become a rallying place for the Welsh, and land belonging to monks who were in debt to his family would have been ideal for a secret burial place.

© 2005 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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