In a well-publicized story in January, two New York City men were charged with fraud after they rolled a dead friend's body in a chair from their apartment to a check-cashing store, propping him up to suggest that he was alive and wanted the men to cash his Social Security check for him. In May, a judge set the men free after they told him that the three had an income- and expense-sharing arrangement and that they thought their friend was merely incapacitated. Since the autopsy was inconclusive as to time of death, the charges were dropped.
An Indonesian man whose skin disorder caused him to grow hideous, root-like tissue that overwhelmed his hands, feet and face, and who was featured on a Discovery Channel program in November, has now lost four pounds' worth of the wart-like growths through surgery and a vitamin A regimen, and at last can grip a pen. American dermatology professor Anthony Gaspari, who is helping him, concluded that he has the human papilloma virus, which normally causes tiny warts, but because of an immune deficiency, the man was unable to restrain their growth.
In April retired engineer William Lyttle, 77, was ordered by the town council in Hackney, England, to pay the equivalent of about $560,000 for repairing the damage he has caused to neighbors in his 40-year obsession of digging deep into the ground on his property, causing not only collapses of parts of his own home but in some cases the integrity of surrounding houses and the street. Authorities discovered a maze of tunnels underneath the 20-room house, in addition to the many holes in the yard, into which Lyttle had dumped cars and boats.