COLUMBIA — This week's most read stories included several stories about Ryan Ferguson's release from prison, the story of a Columbia teacher's failed adoption attempt and the death of a local high school football player from brain injuries.
Here are the 10 most read stories posted last week on ColumbiaMissourian.com, according to Google Analytics. Most of the links provided are to stories available only for Missourian digital subscribers.
Ryan Ferguson was freed from jail Tuesday after the Missouri attorney general's office decided it would not pursue further action against Ferguson. The release came a week after the Missouri Court of Appeals Western District vacated his 2005 conviction for the 2001 murder of Columbia Daily Tribune sports editor Kent Heitholt. Ferguson had served nearly eight years of his 40-year sentence. (15,591 page views)
Ryan Ferguson's freedom came with a hefty price tag, as his father, Bill Ferguson, estimated that he spent $250,000 over the past decade fighting for his release. The costs included a tour of the country to gain publicity for the case, the launch of a website and local advertisements advocating for his son's release. Supporters of Ryan Ferguson launched an online fundraising campaign on Nov. 8 to help pay his basic expenses, and the campaign has raised more than $48,000 from more than 1,300 donors across the country. (10,308 page views)
- Anna Kleinsorge, a fifth grade teacher at Blue Ridge Elementary School, was disappointed after her quest to adopt a child ended when the birth mother changed her mind about giving up her child. Kleinsorge had posted an ad on Craiglist hoping to adopt a baby, and arranged to adopt the child of a Kansas City woman. The birth mother decided she wanted to keep the child shortly before its birth, and Kleinsorge is left hoping that another birth mother will contact her. (4,643 page views)
Josh Kezer, who was wrongly convicted of murder and served nearly 16 years in prison before being exonerated, said he expects Ryan Ferguson to face substantial social adjustment challenges as he re-enters society. Kezer urged the community to treat Ferguson like a "son of Columbia" and be patient as Ferguson begins the extended process of transitioning into a free life. (2,381 page views)
- The mood at Ryan Ferguson's news conference after his release was jubilant as his family and supporters celebrated his freedom. Ferguson smiled and spoke with confidence at the news conference, where he reflected on his experiences with the legal system over the past decade and thanked those who had supported him. Ferguson also expressed sympathy for the Heitholt family and brought attention to others he said had been wrongfully incarcerated. (1,973 page views)
- A young trio of steadfast fans — 1-year-old triplets Graham, Ainsley and Beckett Roth — have been among the most dedicated supporters of the undefeated Missouri volleyball team this season. The trio's parents, Barron and Laura Roth, have brought the children to all but one home match this season, and the babies enjoy the bright lights and loud music at the Hearnes Center during the matches. (1,516 page views)
Chad Stover, a 17-year-old football player at Tipton High School, died Thursday morning at University Hospital after sustaining brain injuries in an Oct. 31 playoff game. The Missouri State High School Activities Association is treating Stover's death as an accident and will not investigate further. MSHSAA communications director Jason West said they were sure that all safety procedures had been followed, though the organization is unclear as to the specifics surrounding his death. Stover had been hospitalized for two weeks prior to his death. (1,440 page views)
The Missourian reported on the Ryan Ferguson's release throughout the day Tuesday and compiled a collection of live reports and had a livestream of the news conference. (983 page views)
After a blowout against Kentucky, Missouri football was ranked at No. 9 in the Nov. 10 AP poll, the fourth straight week the Tigers were in the top 10. Missouri was idle Saturday but moved up a spot in the poll after No. 5 Stanford was upset by USC. (829 page views)
Missouri senior wrestler Kyle Bradley, who is a notch away from legal blindness, is preparing to begin his final season at Missouri. Bradley was born with a genetic eye disease called Juvenile X-Linked Retinoschisis, and a doctor's recommendation led him to take up wrestling in first grade. After graduation, Bradley plans to help other disabled athletes. (821 page views)
Supervising editor is Elizabeth Stephens.