Issued by the Media Relations Office,
Public Information Officer Deputy Becky Herrin
Click here to read press releases on other Sheriff's Office events and occurrences
June 29, 2011
Teen dies after diving accident
Sugarloaf Key – A teen who was diving offshore of the Lower keys Sunday became ill following the dive and has reportedly died in a hospital in Miami.
Deputies responded to Sugarloaf KOA Campground just before noon Sunday. A private vessel, a 25 foot center console Whitewater, was en route to shore with a possible dive accident victim on board.
When the vessel arrived at the dock, it was met by deputies and paramedics from Monroe County Fire/Rescue. The victim, 16 year old Kevin Piper, Jr. was breathing, but unconscious; he was transported to Lower Keys hospital along with his father, who was also on the boat. Piper was later airlifted to Miami where he reportedly died on Tuesday.
Others on board told Deputy Linda Kohout they were diving off the oceanside, near Maryland Shoal. It was reportedly their second dive. Piper was diving by himself at approximately 120 feet with his friend, 17 year old Zane Osborn, free diving above him. According to Osborn, Piper suddenly began to surface quickly; Osborn said he tried to tell Piper to slow down, but Piper motioned to him that he was out of air.
Once Piper surfaced, he told Osborn he felt “really weird”. Another friend, 28 year old Robert Pippin Jr., says at that point he jumped into the water and brought Piper on board the boat. He said Piper was breathing, but would not respond to anyone. That is when they called for help and headed for shore.
Deputies took custody of Piper’s gear at the scene; the gauge on his dive tanks showed it to be empty.
Detectives will be investigating the incident.
Miami men charged with fighting roosters, theft
Marathon – Three Miami men were arrested in Marathon Tuesday after an alert neighbor saw them stealing a pump jack from a home on 91st Street.
The neighbor called the Sheriff’s Office at 2 p.m. to report seeing the three men picking coconuts. He saw them move a pump jack, and then, when they drove away, he noticed the pump jack was gone. He described them as three Hispanic men, and told dispatchers they were traveling in a large van with an unusual small window in the rear.
A couple of hours later, the van, a 1999 Dodge Ram2500, was spotted at Dion’s Quick Mart on 63rd Street in Marathon. Deputy Joshua Brady and Sgt. Ken Fricke responded and asked the men if they’d taken anything besides coconuts during the course of the day. They denied taking anything and gave the deputy permission to search the van.
In the back of the van, Deputy Brady found a large number of coconuts. Sgt. Fricke estimated 4,000 coconuts were in the van weighing several tons. Underneath the coconuts, he found two milk crates. In the milk crates he found two roosters, with combs, waddles and spurs cut off, as if they’d been prepared for fighting. There was no food, and no water in the van for the birds.
The jack was not found, however due to the eyewitness account of what happened, the three men were arrested. The were positively identified by the witness as them men he saw at his neighbor’s house earlier in the day.
56 year old Martin DeDelgado, 58 year old Angel Aportela and 56 year old Adalberto Martin, all of Miami, were charged with grand theft and possession of an animal to use for fighting or baiting. Aportela was also charged with an outstanding warrant out of Miami-Dade County for three counts of Sexual Battery. All three were booked into jail.
June 18, 2011
Teen stabbed on Big Pine Key
Big Pine Key – A 17 year old from Big Pine Key was airlifted to Miami after another teen stabbed him in the back Friday afternoon on Big Pine Key.
The incident took place in the parking lot of Walgreen’s drugstore at 4:40 p.m. Friday. Witnesses say the suspect, 19 year old Shane Richard, got off the bus from Marathon with a friend. The victim, 17 year old Craig Veitinger, was there and the two got into an altercation.
During the altercation, Richard pulled a knife from his pocket and stabbed Veitinger in the back. Richard then got into a yellow colored Ford Mustang with several other people and left the scene.
It was later determined the fight was over a woman Veitinger had been “messing around with”. A witness who was on the bus with the suspect said he and a friend had been talking on the bus about fighting Veitinger. She said the whole time he was talking about it, Richard had a knife in his hands, with the blade open.
Richard was located at a home on Rose Drive a short time later. He was taken into custody and charged with aggravated battery. Veitinger was transported to Fishermen’s Hospital where it was determined he had a punctured lung. He was airlifted to the Ryder Trauma Center in Miami for treatment of his injuries.
June 16, 2011
Man charged with attempted burglary of tow yard
Stock Island - A man whose car had been towed was arrested Wednesday morning after he tried to take it from the tow yard it was stored in.
The silver Toyota Scion was towed from the Searstown Parking lot at 1:15 a.m. The company notified the owner, 26 year old Matthew Foulkrod and arranged to meet him at the two yard on 5th Avenue, Stock Island to turn over the vehicle.
When the owner of the two yard showed up at 4:45 a.m. to meet Foulkrod, however, he found Foulkrod already inside the fenced in area of the tow yard. He’d started his car and pulled it up to the tow yard gate, as if he were going to drive it through the locked gate.
The owner called the Sheriff’s Office. Deputy Chris Fraser responded. He placed Foulkrod under arrest, charging him with burglary and theft. He was taken to jail.
Big Pine woman arrested after breaking in to mother’s home, assaulting her
Big Pine Key – A Big Pine Key woman is in jail, charged with forcing her way into her mother’s house and attacking her.
Neighbors who lives on Avenue E heard someone screaming for help at about 9;20 p.m. Wednesday. When they stepped outside to look, they saw 25 year old Jessica Calitri violently slamming and kicking the door of her mother’s house trying to get in. Calitri’s step-father was trying to get her to stop, and to leave the property. They called 911 for help.
When Deputy Chris Fraser arrived, he separated all the parties involved in the dispute, then spoke to each of them about what happened. The victim told him she is taking care of Calitri’s two children. She said Calitri showed up demanding to see them and became enraged when her mother told her one of them was not home.
Calitri began arguing with her, then the argument became physical with Calitri forcing her way into the house and attacking her mother. The step-father attempted to intervene and finally managed to get Calitri out of the house.
Calitri was arrested. She was charged with burglary with battery on the occupant, and with a separate count of battery. She was taken to jail.
June 13, 2011
Man arrested for lobster violation
Grassy Key – A 66 year old Fort Myers man got into a confrontation with a woman over spearing lobsters at a Grassy Key trailer park Sunday night.
The manager of Jolly Roger Trailer Park spotted Tim Branauer standing on the seawall at the trailer park spearing lobster at about 9:30 p.m. When she confronted him, he threw the lobster in his hand back into the water and told her she had no proof he was doing anything illegal.
After she called the Sheriff’s Office, Branauer went back to his trailer and retrieved more wrung lobster tails and began discarding them into the water. The manager grabbed her camera and began taking pictures. When he saw what she was doing, he grabbed her wrist and took the camera away from her.
A second witness confirmed what the manager said when questioned by Sgt. Joel Slough. A Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officer arrived to assist. He recovered a wrung lobster tail from the water, and Sgt. Slough recovered a dead lobster which had a hole in it, indicating it had been speared.
Sgt. Slough arrested Branauer, charging him with two counts of violating saltwater fishing regulations, tampering with evidence, battery and robbery. He was booked into jail.
June 9, 2011
Break in, vandalism reported to Coral Shores High School
Employees at Coral Shores High School showed up to work Wednesday morning to find a mess, including orange spray paint on walls and desks, toilet paper in the rooms and outside the school, trash cans knocked over and graffiti saying “We rule this” and “seniors” among other things.
School Resource Officer Deputy Beverly Brazil and Detective Mike Wilkinson worked with school officials to identify suspects in the case. The Principal, Dr. Alberto Rodriguez, determined that he would be handling the incident “in-house” and did not wish to press criminal charges at this time. At this point, the Sheriff’s Office case is closed and any further developments will be handled by the school.
June 4, 2011
Men arrested in Craig’s List sting
Detectives, acting undercover as buyers, arrested a man selling a stolen concrete saw on Craig’s List. A man who was with him was arrested on drug charges.
The owner of Island Touch Construction called the Sheriff’s Office Thursday to report a former employee had stolen his Makita concrete saw. He told Detective Patrick Crozier 23 year old David Gilliland borrowed the saw and then didn’t return it. He said he tried repeatedly over several months to get it back, but Gilliland always put him off. He said he was on Craig’s List and saw the tool for sale, being sold by a man called “David” who lives around the 95 mile marker in the Florida Keys. He said he knew it was his because he’d made a few obvious modifications to the saw.
Detective Francisco Gaete found the saw on Craig’s List as well, being sold by “David” for $500.00, much lower than its actual value. Posing as a potential buyer for the saw, he began negotiating for it, eventually settling on a price of $450.00. He arranged to meet “David” on Friday, at a gas station at the 106 mile marker at 9 p.m. When Gilliland showed up, he had the saw with him. It was positively identified as the one belonging to the victim.
Gilliland was arrested and charged with grand theft and dealing in stolen property. He was also charged with an outstanding warrant for failure to appear in court. He was taken to jail.
When he showed up on the scene to meet with Detective Gaete, another man was in the vehicle with him. During the course of the encounter, detectives searched both men’s pockets for officer safety reasons. In 21 year old Kyle Gross’ pocket, they found 22.75 grams of Marijuana, packaged in eight plastic bags, as if for individual sale. Gross was also arrested, charged with possession of marijuana with intent to distribute. He also was taken to jail.
June 3, 2011
Man arrested for causing severe injury to child
Marathon – A Marathon man has been arrested, accused of causing severe injury to an infant who was hospitalized following repeated abuse.
The child, who was born in December, was brought in to Mariner’s Hospital on March 8th; he was subsequently airlifted to Miami Children’s Hospital, where he underwent treatment for what the Child Protection Team medical examination report called “horrific physical child abuse, recurrent and was at a level of potential lethality.” That assessment was reportedly confirmed by doctors who treated him at Miami Children’s Hospital. He had a head injury, numerous broken ribs, and had human sized bite marks on both of his knees, to the point where the bites lacerated the skin. Doctors also found evidence of possible previous abuse.
The child’s identity cannot be released; Florida law prohibits the release of the identity of a victim of possible child abuse, or any information which might identify the victim of child abuse.
Detectives with the Sheriff’s Office Crimes Against Women and Children’s Unit were assigned to investigate the case. On March 15th, 23 year old Dominic Davis admitted to Detective Deborah Ryan he was the one who caused the bite marks. He claimed to not know how the child’s other injuries happened.
Subsequently, a witness told the detective she saw Davis on several occasions treating the child “roughly”, to the point where the child would cry and she thought the child was in pain. In the detectives words, Davis on several occasions, held the child tightly around the torso, “violently extending and retracting his own arms without making any attempt to support the infant’s arms and legs. This repeated action most likely caused multiple fractured ribs…”
Detective Ryan’s investigation into the circumstances of the injuries determined Davis was responsible for abusing the child. Today, he was charged with aggravated child abuse, a first degree felony, and he was booked into jail. His bond is set at $500,000.00. The child has been released from the hospital and is currently being cared for under the auspices of the Florida Department of Children and Families.
June 1, 2011
Canadian man dies while snorkeling
Key Largo – A man from Whitehorse in Yukon, Canada died Tuesday afternoon while snorkeling offshore of Key Largo.
69 year old John Hobus was visiting the Keys on vacation, with his wife and another couple from Canada. They were all out snorkeling on board the Reef Roamer Catamaran, at Cannon Patch Reef offshore of Key Largo. While snorkeling, Hobus began to have trouble as he was swimming back to the boat. Crew on board the boat pulled him on board. He’d stopped breathing, so CPR was administered until he was brought back to shore, at the Port Largo Subdivision. Paramedics responded, but he was pronounced dead at 3:30 p.m.
His wife told Detective Jason Madnick Hobus had a triple heart bypass operation in 1995 and was taking lots of medication related to that operation. His snorkeling equipment and medications were taken as evidence. The Medical Examiner’s Office will be doing an autopsy to determine the cause of his death.