Local News

The man accused of abducting and killing an 11-year-old Navajo girl has pleaded not guilty to murder, kidnapping, sexual abuse and other charges.

Tom Begaye Jr. entered the plea Tuesday in federal court in Albuquerque, where relatives of the victim left the courtroom weeping after his brief court appearance.

The arraignment for the 27-year-old Navajo man came just over a month after authorities say he kidnapped fifth-grader Ashlynne Mike and her younger brother as they played near their home on the Navajo Nation.

NPS/B. Sutton

The Grand Canyon, Wupatki National Monument and Sunset Crater Volcano are some of the geologic and cultural gems of the National Park Service. This summer, KNAU's Earth Notes series will highlight these, and other special places across the Southwest in honor of the Park Service's 100th anniversary. In the second installment of the series, we hear about how Wupatki's population survived there a thousand years ago despite the area's extreme arid environment.

The region around Wupatki National Monument on the San Francisco Plateau is so dry it was called the Sierra Sin Agua, or “Mountains Without Water,” by early Spanish explorers. Yet from the 11th to 13th centuries this region supported a population of between several hundred and 2,000 people. How did they do it?


Authorities say some private residences are threatened by a 100-acre fire on unincorporated private land in Clints Well, located south of Flagstaff.


Arizona State Forestry officials say the human-caused Reservoir Fire began Monday morning south of the boat ramp at C.C. Cragin Reservoir.

They say several private residences northeast of the reservoir are threatened and two of those were occupied and self-evacuated.

The Moqui Lookout Tower also has been evacuated as a precautionary measure.

The man accused in the deadly abduction of a Navajo girl along her school bus route is scheduled to be arraigned on murder and other charges in federal court.

The hearing for 27-year-old Tom Begaye is scheduled for Tuesday in Albuquerque. Federal authorities say he kidnapped 11-year-old Ashlynne Mike and her younger brother on the afternoon of May 2 as they played by a canal near their home on the Navajo Nation.

A criminal complaint says Begaye took the children to a desolate area, where he bludgeoned Ashlynne and left her to die. The boy was later freed.

U.S. National Park Service

Grand Canyon National Park has earned provisional status as an International Dark Sky Park.