The Sacramento Bee is celebrating its 160th anniversary this year. This story is part of our ongoing coverage.
July 19, 1988: It was a day of loss and reunion, of the darkest terror and the brightest joy.
Candi Talarico, the 4-year-old kidnapped outside her midtown home 45 days ago, is alive and safe. So is 5-year-old Meuy Han Saefong, the daughter of refugees from Laos, who was snatched Monday from the street in front of her apartment at 35th and Y streets.
Late Monday afternoon, both girls were found at Elk Grove United Methodist Church: Candi was inside a cramped staircase cubbyhole under the altar; Meuy, bound with duct tape, was in the oven-like trunk of a car parked outside.
Police said their abductor was Kenneth Alvin Michel, 32, of Elk Grove, a janitor at the church who cannot hear or speak.
Michel apparently also tried to kidnap a 6-year-old Elk Grove girl earlier Monday, but she escaped, police said. That turned out to be the key to cracking the case, as a witness copied down the license-plate number of the car the kidnapper was driving – the same car used several hours later in the Saefong abduction.
Michel was arrested at the church and booked into Sacramento County Jail on kidnapping charges. Hospital officials said both girls were in good condition and they were released late Monday.
“She’s all right, she’s all right,” Candi’s mother, Diane Van Gilder, cried when FBI agents told her that her daughter, whose case attracted nationwide attention, had been found. “I’m going to get my baby.”
Meuy Saefong’s parents, Weun Meng and Nai Liem Saefong, who are Mien tribespeople from Laos, speak no English. But they showed their gratitude with a religious custom, offering prayers as a Mien priest blew a horn.
Fire ravages Solons’ home in 1948
July 12, 1948: A spectacular flash fire, which was discovered shortly before midnight, destroyed Edmonds Filed, the home park of the Pacific Coast League’s Sacramento Solons, and three houses to the south of Riverside Boulevard.
Yubi Separovich, general manager and co-owner of the club, estimated the loss at nearly $1 million, declaring this amount would be necessary to replace the grandstand, bleachers and general equipment. He said the insurance on the property amounts to only $250,000.
Officials of the fire department reported the loss resulting from the damage to the nearby dwelling and an automobile will total at least an additional $35,000.
Six persons, including Fire Chief Terence Mulligan, were treated at the emergency hospital for either burns or injuries suffered during the fire.
A solid sheet of flame swept skyward from the main grandstand less than half an hour after the fire was discovered at 11:40 o’clock last night.
Flying embers from the main structures at the west end of the nine-acre field ignited bleachers, office buildings, night lighting equipment and three dwellings.
Only a small section of the bleachers at the extreme east end of the park remained standing after the fire was extinguished.
The concrete ramp at the entrance to the grandstands provided firemen with a firm foundation from which to pour tons of water into the flaming stands.
As the flames shot upward the entire section of the city in the vicinity of Broadway and Riverside Boulevard was as light as day for more than an hour. Thousands of persons watched more than 200 firemen and volunteers fight the scorching blaze.