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Morning headlines: Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Ashley White, who is facing child kidnapping charges after allegedly abducting a 5-year-old girl.
(via St. Louis County Police Department)
Ashley White, who is facing child kidnapping charges after allegedly abducting a 5-year-old girl.

Girl returned to mom soon after abduction

A St. Louis County woman is facing child kidnapping charges after allegedly abducting a 5-year-old girl.

Police say the abduction happened Monday afternoon when 25-year-old Ashley White of Pine Lawn took the child from a baby sitter's home in Jennings.

White is an acquaintance of the mother. The mother told police that White had asked for money prior to the abduction.

St. Louis County police quickly found White and the child at White's home. The child was unharmed.

Police say the motive was not known. White was jailed and did not have a listed attorney.

St. Louis teen faces assault charges in "knockout game"

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reportsthat 17-year-old Kwame Thomas was charged Tuesday. He is accused of attacking a 54-year-old man on Sunday. At least one man has been killed and another badly injured in "knockout game" attacks in St. Louis this year. The attacks usually involve groups of young people who randomly pick out a person to beat up.

Koster: Mo. to receive $14 million from Merck settlement

Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster says the state is getting $13.8 million from drug maker Merck in a settlement over marketing of the painkiller Vioxx.

The U.S. Justice Department announced Merck's $950 million settlement with the federal government, 43 states and the District of Columbia on Tuesday. Merck agreed to pay about $322 million in criminal fines and $628 million for a civil settlement. Koster says Missouri's share will go to the state's Medicaid program.

Officials say the settlement resolves allegations Merck made false or unproven statements about the safety of Vioxx and marketed the drug as a treatment for rheumatoid arthritis before getting approval from regulators. Merck says the settlement does not constitute an admission of liability or wrongdoing.

Police close KC command post due to slow leads in missing baby case

Investigators have closed the command post they had been using while searching for a missing Kansas City girl. Detectives and FBI agents are working out of their usual offices but will continue to search for Lisa Irwin, who was 10 months old when she disappeared from her home on Oct. 4.

Police said Tuesday the command post closed because leads in the case have slowed. And other crime cases have piled up while officers concentrated on finding the girl, putting strain on detectives and victims involved in other cases.

The Kansas City Star reportsthat seven or eight detectives will stay assigned to the baby Lisa case, but will also work on other cases. FBI agents will continue to work with police at the same level as before.

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