Monroe County Sheriff’s Office
Daily Crime and Information Report

Issued by the Media Relations Office, Public Information Officer Deputy Becky Herrin


December 27, 2001

Preliminary autopsy results on murder victim

Islamorada – An autopsy, performed by the Monroe County Medical Examiner’s Office, shows the Islamorada woman allegedly killed by her boyfriend on Christmas Day probably died of salt water drowning.

More tests are necessary before a final result will be available. 44 year old Patricia Wakelee was allegedly killed by her live-in boyfriend, 43 year old Bret Charles Rehm. Rehm is currently in the Monroe County Detention Center being held without bond on first degree murder charges.

According to Detective James Norman, the Sheriff’s Office received a call from a friend of Rehm and Wakelee’s at 2:30 p.m. The man said he’d gone to Rehm’s houseboat on his dinghy at 9:30 a.m. He said Rehm wasn’t there, but he said he found Wakelee’s body floating in the water near the houseboat. He said he pulled the body from the water and placed it on a bed in the houseboat, covering it with a blanket. He then went looking for Rehm, but couldn’t find him. He returned to the houseboat later and found Rehm on board. Rehm told him he’d “put Wakelee in a full nelson and pushed her face in the sand.”

A second man also called the Sheriff’s Office Tuesday afternoon to report hearing Rehm say the same thing about Wakelee.

After receiving the calls, dispatchers sent deputies and a Fish and Wildlife Officer to the area. They went to the houseboat on board the FWC boat at 3:11 p.m. and confronted Rehm. The body was still on the bed, covered by a blanket. Rehm was arrested and booked into the Monroe County Detention Center.

Dive death appears natural

Key Largo – A Mulberry, Florida man who died on a dive trip off of Key Largo Sunday may have died of a heart attack.

Preliminary autopsy results show that 54 year old Gordon Marshall probably died of a heart attack. He was diving with his daughter and two sons, on a dive trip out of the Atlantis Dive Center.

More tests are necessary to confirm the cause of death.

 

 December 26, 2001

Christmas Day Murder leads to arrest

Islamorada – A Christmas Day murder has led to the arrest of an Islamorada man accused of killing his girlfriend.

43 year old Bret Charles Rehm was charged with first degree murder for allegedly killing 44 year old Patricia Wakelee. Both of them lived on board a houseboat on the bayside of the 81 mile marker in Islamorada.

According to Homicide Detective James Norman, a friend of Rehm and Wakelee’s called the Sheriff’s Office at 9:30 a.m. to report finding her body when he rode up to the houseboat in his dinghy. He said it appeared she’d been dead for some time. Rehm was not around, so he pulled the body from the water and placed it on the bed in the houseboat, covering it with a blanket.

He left the area and returned later to find Rehm on board. Rehm told him Patricia had “driven him over the edge”. He said he’d “put her in a full nelson and stuck her face in the sand.” A second man also contacted the Sheriff’s Office and said Rehm had told him the same story about killing Wakelee.

At 3:20 p.m., an officer from the Fish and Wildlife Commission went to the houseboat. Rehm refused him access, but while the officer was talking to Rehm, he could see what looked like a body under a blanket on a bed inside the houseboat. Rehm was arrested and the body was taken by the Medical Examiner’s Office for an autopsy, which will be performed today.

Rehm is currently being held at the Monroe County Detention Center, charged with first degree murder.

Body recovered off the Lower Keys

Key West – The Sheriff’s Office dive team recovered the body of a man from mangroves near Man Key in the Lower Keys today (Wednesday).

The body is likely to be that of a missing boater. 51 year old Amos Silkman Lane, of Key West. Lane was last seen leaving Oceanside Marina on the morning of December 11th. His boat was found a few days later just a short distance from where the body was discovered. A diver’s down flag was out, and his personal effects were found on board.

When the body was recovered, it was clothed in a wet suit with the name “Lane” on it. An autopsy will be performed tomorrow to confirm the body’s identity, and to attempt to determine the cause of his death.

A Sheriff’s Office Waverunner, operated by Deputy Jack Bernhard, was used to recover the body from the shallow water. Also assisting in the recovery were boats from the U.S. Coast Guard and the Key West Police Department.

Sobriety Checkpoint results

Islamorada – A Sobriety Checkpoint Saturday kept Islamorada Sheriff’s deputies busy.

The Checkpoint resulted in 226 contacts with motorists between the hours of 10 p.m. and 3 a.m. 25 citations were written, and 20 warnings handed out for various safety violations. No one was arrested for DUI during the course of the checkpoint, although 11 people were booked into the Monroe County Detention Center on DUI charges between Friday and Tuesday.

The month of December is designated as National Drunk and Drugged Driving Prevention Month and the checkpoint was held to recognize National Holiday Lifesavers Weekend.

Mulberry, Florida man dies in dive accident

Key Largo – A 54 year old man from Mulberry, Florida died Sunday while diving with his three children at Elbow Reef, off of Key Largo.

Gordon Marshall was on a dive boat out of the Atlantis Dive Center with his daughter and two sons when the incident occurred. They were all reportedly diving in 50 feet of water and had surfaced when Marshall indicated he was short of air in his dive tanks. They began swimming back to the boat when the daughter noticed her father was not breathing. With the assistance of the boat’s crew, his body was taken on board and CPR was begun.

The boat returned to Atlantis Dive Center in Key Largo where it was met by an ambulance. Marshall was pronounced dead at Mariner’s Hospital. Detectives are investigating and an autopsy is pending to determine the cause of his death.

 

December 21, 2001

Corrections Officer arrested for having sex with an inmate

Monroe County – A female Corrections Officer was arrested and terminated from her employment with the Sheriff’s Office today (Friday) after she admitted to having sex with an inmate while on duty at the Stock Island Detention Center.

51 year old Nora Luebbert was charged with sexual misconduct for having sex with a male inmate in the officer’s restroom of an inmate dorm. Internal Affairs Inspector Luis Vega said Luebbert was caught on a security video tape going in to the restroom three times on Thursday with the inmate, the first time for two minutes, the second time for seven minutes and the third time for fifteen minutes.

When Luebbert was confronted about the incidents, she admitted to having an improper sexual relationship with the inmate. She said she had sex with him on five separate occasions in the same restroom, which is locked at all times and is reserved for officer’s use only. She also admitted to getting a $20.00 money order from a Big Pine Key convenience store. She deposited the money in the inmate’s account at the detention center under a false name.

Luebbert was hired by the Sheriff’s Office in July of 2000. Prior to working in Monroe County, she worked in Volusia County as a Corrections Officer.

Luebbert was booked into the Detention Facility Friday afternoon, charged with sexual misconduct, a third degree felony carrying a possible penalty of up to five years in prison and a $5,000.00 fine.

Homeless man found dead on Big Coppitt Key

Big Coppitt Key – A Homeless man was found dead in a wooded area just off of Old Boca Chica Road on Big Coppitt Key Thursday afternoon.

Detectives say 39 year old Doyle Douglas Cullen was found by a woman riding her bicycle. The woman said she’d ridden her bike by the area on Wednesday and had seen the man lying on the ground. When she saw him in the exact same position on Thursday, she decided to call the Sheriff’s Office.

Cullen had a few minor scratches and bruises visible on his body, but an autopsy done Friday failed to reveal the cause of his death. The Medical Examiner’s Office said the results of more tests are pending.

Two search warrants lead to arrests on Big Pine Key

Big Pine Key – Two separate search warrants served on Big Pine Key resulted in the arrest of four people by detectives from the Sheriff’s Special Investigations Division.

On Thursday, detectives served a search warrant at 31096 Avenue B, Big Pine Key at 3:30 p.m. Two men were arrested after a search of the premises. 47 year old Ruben Guitterez was charged with possession of one crack cocaine rock. 37 year old Francisco Maunteca was arrested after he was found in possession of 9 crack rocks and 13.8 grams of powdered cocaine.

ON Friday morning at 6:15 a.m., detective and the Sheriff’s Special Weapons and Tactics Team served a search warrant at 720 Sand Dollar Road on Big Pine Key. The man who resides in the home, 36 year old Walter Passika, was arrested for an outstanding warrant for battery. A woman who rents a room from him, 54 year old Phamelia Curry, was arrested and issued a notice to appear in court after marijuana and drug paraphernalia were found in her purse.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement assisted in the investigations, and in the service of both search warrants.

December 19, 2001

Inmate escapes from Stock Island Detention Facility

Stock Island – An inmate, acting as an internal detention center trusty in the maintenance division, escaped today by taking an elevator to the ground floor and walking away from the facility.

30 year old Luke-Jabo Finney was working as a maintenance trusty when he asked to use the restroom just after noon today (Wednesday). He was allowed to use a restroom in the lobby. Maintenance personnel reported him missing about 30 minutes later, after he didn’t return to his work area. A video tape of the lobby area showed him walking to the elevator and exiting the building.

A search turned up his orange trusty uniform a short distance away, hidden in a wooded area just off of College Road.

Finney was arrested November 23rd by Key West Police on drug charges. He is six feet tall, approximately 150 pounds with blondish brown medium length hair. He gave his occupation as carpenter, and gave no address at the time of his arrest, but gives his birth state as Arkansas.

Jail officials say it appears he should not have been working as a trusty because he has a pending charge of escape from Tennessee and would have been extradited there after facing his local charges. For some reason, however, it appears that information was not relayed to the jail’s Classification section, which is responsible for determining trustee status. Additionally, Finney was assigned to work as an internal trusty, which means he was not supposed to be allowed into any unsecured area of the jail building without an escort. It appears that this rule may have been broken when he was allowed to visit a lobby restroom unescorted.

An investigation into these possible violations is ongoing.

Deputies are actively searching for Finney. Anyone with information about his location should call the Sheriff’s Office immediately. Callers who wish to remain anonymous can call Crime Stoppers of the Florida Keys. If a tip leads to an arrest, the caller would be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000.00. The Crime Stoppers hot line number is 1-800-346-TIPS.

 

December 18, 2001

Robbery at upper Keys convenience store

Key Largo – An upper Keys convenience store was robbed at 2:30 a.m. today by a man in a Halloween mask who asked the clerk for “all his pesos”.

The robber walked behind the counter and confronted the clerk at the Tom Thumb store at the 104 mile marker of Highway U.S. One. He was dressed in black from head to toe, had gloves on his hands and a Halloween mask of an old man covering his face. The clerk said the man was armed with a gun. The suspect reportedly said “Give me all your pesos”. The clerk handed over the money from the cash register and the suspect fled from the store on foot.

Deputies arrived just minutes after being called. A perimeter was set up around the area and a K-9 unit was called to assist with a search. No sign was found of the robber, however.

Very little is known about the suspect. The clerk said his voice indicated he was a man. His race is unknown, and, other than the fact that he is short in stature, no other description is available.

Anyone with information about this crime should contact the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office at 853-3211. Callers who wish to remain anonymous can call Crime Stopper of the Florida Keys. If a caller’s tip leads to an arrest, he or she would be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000.00. The Crime Stoppers hot line number is 1-800-346-TIPS.

 

December 17, 2001

Miami Springs man charged with possessing stolen fire equipment

Islamorada – A Miami Springs man was arrested Friday after he told clerks at a clothing store he had a gun, and identified himself as a retired “public safety” officer.

43 year old John Behrens, Jr. flashed a badge he was wearing around a neck chain when he was confronted by deputies outside Latitude 25 Clothing store in Islamorada. Clerks in the store called deputies after becoming suspicious of Behrens. He told them he was carrying a gun, and they felt he was acting strangely as he was walking around the store.

Deputies Nelson Sanchez, Todd Pitts and Lt. Tom Brazil stopped Behrens as he was walking out of the store. He said he did not have a gun, but admitted telling the clerks he did. He said he was a retired firefighter and produced numerous fire department I.Ds, along with a Department of Defense I.D., all of which reportedly appeared to be altered or false.

Behrens gave the deputies permission to search his car. In the car, deputies found a large amount of firefighting equipment which turned out to have been stolen from the Tavernier Fire Department, and from the Miami-Dade Fire Department, including a helmet, gloves, fire hoods, suspenders and other items.

A call to Miami-Dade Fire department revealed that a few weeks ago, a man fitting Behrens’ description walked in to a firehouse and identified himself as a firefighter. Shortly after that, the equipment was discovered to be missing.

The equipment stolen from Tavernier was taken from a fire department utility truck parked outside the firehouse.

Behrens was arrested and charged with grand theft and burglary. He was booked into the Monroe County Detention Center. More charges may be pending. His bond is currently set at $5,000.00.

Key West man missing

Key West – A Key West man is missing. His boat was found adrift, with a divers down flag flying and personal effects still on board.

51 year old Amos Silkman Lane was last seen going out on his boat from Oceanside Marina December 11th around 9 a.m. The Coast Guard called the Fish and Wildlife Commission Sunday and said his boat had been anchored, unattended, off of Crawfish Key for several days.

FWC Officers checked on it. A divers down flag was flying, and a wallet, keys and a cellular phone were found on board. There was no sign of what might have happened to Lane.

Detectives are investigating.

Christmas presents stolen in two separate burglaries

Monroe County – A woman in Marathon and a woman in Stock Island have both reported having Christmas presents stolen over the weekend in separate burglary cases.

The Marathon victim woke up Saturday morning to find her vehicle had been burglarized over night. Numerous items inside were stolen, including several gifts she’d purchased for Christmas, and several bottles of alcohol. Four cases of Budweiser long-neck bottles were also stolen from an area near the vehicle, under an overhand of the house.

A Stock Island woman arrived home Sunday after being gone for a week and found her apartment had been burglarized. She told deputies her Christmas tree had been knocked down, and presents she’d purchased for her children had been stolen. A large amount of prescription medication was also gone from the house, along with two George Forman grills and a cellular phone.

Detectives are investigating.

December 14, 2001

Visitor arrested after drug package intercepted in mail

 (Islamorada) A Michigan woman ended up in jail after authorities intercepted a drug filled package she had mailed to herself at an Islamorada resort.  42-year old Katherine Lee Schulte told detectives from the Sheriff’s Special Investigations Unit that she mailed the package before she flew to the Keys in order to avoid airport searches. However, postal authorities discovered the package and notified the Sheriff’s Office.  Posing as deliverymen, detectives took the package to Schulte at her motel room on Thursday.  After Schulte accepted the package, detectives arrested her on charges of possession of marijuana, cocaine and narcotics paraphernalia.  The package contained 80 grams of marijuana and one gram of cocaine.  Schulte was released from jail after posting a ten thousand-dollar bond.

December 11, 2001

Stolen van recovered; Big Pine man arrested

Big Pine Key – Florida Highway Patrol troopers stopped a van and arrested the driver Monday morning. A short time later, the van was reported stolen from Keys Auto Mart on Stock Island.

A trooper stopped the van at 6:30 a.m. on Big Pine Key because he noticed the left head light was out. The driver, 37 year old David Berkshire, had no valid driver’s license. He was arrested and booked into the Monroe County Detention Center. A passenger in the van was identified, then allowed to go home.

Two hours later, employees of Keys Auto Mart on Stock Island arrived at work and discovered someone had removed jalousies from a window in the business’s office and removed vehicle keys from inside. A 1992 GMC Van was missing from the car lot.  The missing car turned out to be the one stopped by FHP earlier that morning.

Detective Henry Hamilton interviewed the passenger, 33 year old Fredrick “Ricky” Keebler. Keebler told the detective he was with Berkshire and saw him break into the business, steal the keys, then steal the van. Berkshire was charged with grand theft auto. Charges may be pending against Keebler for his part in the incident.

 

December 10, 2001

Man charged with stealing truck

Big Pine Key – A man, stopped for speeding on Big Pine Key Sunday morning was arrested after deputies discovered the truck he was driving was stolen.

Deputy Andrew Ensminger was on patrol on Big Pine Key at 5:30 a.m. when he saw a truck traveling at a high rate of speed. He paced the truck at 61 miles per hour in a 35 mile per hour zone, and with the assistance of Border Patrol, he pulled it over.

When he approached the truck, the driver was unresponsive, so an ambulance was called. The driver was transported to Fisherman’s Hospital. In the meantime, deputies checked the truck’s license number through computers. The owner of the truck was contacted at his Summerland Key home. He told deputies his truck should have been parked at a Key West resort hotel, and no one had permission to be driving it.

When deputies confronted the driver of the truck with the fact that it had been stolen, he refused any comment. He also refused to give his name, and he is still unidentified as of Monday morning. He was cleared by the hospital for release and he was booked into the Monroe County Detention Center under the name “John Doe”. He was charged with grand theft auto and resisting arrest without violence. Detention Center personnel are still trying to find out who he really is by checking his fingerprints.

Big Pine man arrested for killing rooster

Big Pine Key – A Big Pine Key man was arrested Sunday evening for killing his neighbor’s rooster with a machete.

55 year old Stephen Morgan told Deputy John Allen that he killed the rooster, with help from other people living in the neighborhood, because the rooster was very noisy and they decided to do something about it. He said he is the one who actually did the killing because he is the only one who had a machete.

Morgan was charged with cruelty to animals and he was booked into the Monroe County Detention Center.

Body recovered Friday

Marathon – The body of a man was recovered from the water just off shore of Valhalla State Park in Marathon Friday morning.

The body is believed to be that of 27 year old Justus Ian Emory, a Homestead man who jumped into the waters under the Channel 5 Bridge December 3rd while on a fishing trip with his brother. The body which was recovered reportedly had a tattoo on it’s back which corresponds to one which family members told detectives Emory had on his back.

Emory’s brother told deputies they were fishing in the early morning hours when his brother decided to go under the bridge to go shrimping. He climbed down a rope, but was then unable to climb back up. He jumped into the water in order to swim to shore, but didn’t make it.

DUI Checkpoint

Islamorada – A Sobriety Checkpoint will be held December 22nd in Islamorada between the hours of 10 p.m. and 3 a.m..

Driver’s stopped at the checkpoint will be observed for possible impairment, and their car’s safety equipment will be checked as well. IF they are found to be impaired, they will be arrested and taken to jail.

December is National Drunk and Drugged Driving Prevention Month and the checkpoint is being held to recognize National Holiday Lifesavers Weekend, December 21-23rd,. December 21st is also “Lights on for Life” day. Drivers are asked to drive with their headlights on during the day to remember the victims of impaired drivers.

The weekend prior to Christmas is reportedly the busiest travel time of the holiday season.