Monroe County Sheriff’s Office
Daily Crime and Information Report

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


February 26, 2001

Arson reported on Big Coppitt Key

Big Coppitt Key – A Big Coppitt Key man told deputies another man threw incendiary devices at his house Sunday in the early morning hours because of a dispute over a drug deal.

The victim said the suspect, a Key West man, threatened to burn his house down earlier in the morning during a dispute about a drug deal. The suspect left the area, then returned a short time later. According to the victim, the suspect ignited three gasoline filled beer bottles and threw them at the victim’s house. The front wall of the house, along with the porch and part of the roof caught on fire.

By the time deputies arrived, the fire was out. Fragments of the bottles were found outside and the outside of the house reportedly smelled of gasoline.

The Fire Marshall’s Office was notified of the possible arson and will be investigating.

Two arrested for Cudjoe Key burglary

Cudjoe Key – Two men were arrested for breaking in to a Cudjoe Key home and stealing electronic equipment Friday.

Deputies were dispatched to the victim’s house on John Silver Lane Friday at 3:45 p.m. The victim said she came home and interrupted the break in, chasing the two suspects outside where they jumped into a nearby canal. Further investigation revealed that 19 year old Seamus Ethridge of Cudjoe Key and 17 year old Juvenal Alfonso of Key West were the two who committed the break in.

Alfonso was found a short time later hiding in a nearby canal. He admitted to taking part in the crime. He said Ethridge planned the burglary. He said they committed the crime in retaliation because a member of the family that lives in the house on John Silver Lane had broken into Ethridge’s house at an earlier date and had stolen a quarter pound of marijuana and a marijuana smoking pipe, commonly known as a “bong”. The bong was reportedly valued at $250.00.

Ethridge was later arrested at his residence on Jolly Roger drive. Prior to his arrest, after he learned that law enforcement officers were looking for him, he called the victim pleading with her to drop the charges.

The victim recovered all of her stolen property beside a nearby canal. It was all damaged due to being submerged in the water. The stolen property is valued at approximately $1,000.00.

Ethridge was charged with burglary, grand theft, witness tampering and resisting arrest. Alfonso was charged with burglary and grand theft. They were both booked into the Monroe County Detention Center.

Drowning in Key Largo

Key Largo - A Key Largo man drowned when he accidentally fell into a canal Saturday night near his home.

The victim is 46 year old Thomas Ladomirak, of 158 West Avenue A, Key Largo Trailer Village. His girlfriend, Karen Mulchaey, told Deputy Laura Garcia that Ladomirak was walking along the canal when lost his balance. He tried to grab a nearby fence, but it gave way and he fell into the canal at approximately 9:22 p.m. Saturday. Mulchaey jumped in after him, but reportedly couldn't find him in the water.

When deputies arrived, she was in the water screaming for help. They pulled her out of the canal. Ladomirak was pulled from the water by EMT Brian Dula. CPR was done, but he was dead on arrival at the hospital.

 

February 24, 2001

Autopsy results from two dead Cuban women

Monroe County – Autopsies on two Cuban women who died in transit to the United States showed they apparently died of head trauma.

According to the Monroe County Medical Examiner’s Office, preliminary autopsy results show both of the women died of trauma to the head.  Detectives from the Sheriff’s Office, and investigators from the Immigration and Naturalization Service and the Federal Bureau of Investigation are continuing to look into the case.

The two women were members of a group of 20 refugees who arrived in the early morning hours Friday at the north end of the Channel 5 Bridge at mile marker 71.3 of Highway U.S. One. They flagged down a passing motorist, who called 911 on his cell phone to report the group’s arrival. One of the women, 73 year old Juana Maria Sanchez, was already dead when the group arrived on shore. The other woman, 27 year old Mileydis Cuellar Sanchez, was transported by an unknown motorist to Mariner’s Hospital in Tavernier with her husband, 27 year old Alain Aulet-Hernandez. She was pronounced dead at the hospital a short time later.

Members of the group reportedly said initially that they had not paid any money for their transportation to the U.S. Agents from Border Patrol arrived on the scene as well and took the refugees into their custody.

 

February 23, 2001

Two Cuban refugees die in trip to the U.S.

Monroe County – Sheriff’s detectives will attend two autopsies today to determine what might have killed two Cuban women who died in transit to the United States from Cuba.

A group of refugees, approximately 18 of them, arrived in the early morning hours at the north end of the Channel 5 Bridge at mile marker 71.3 of Highway U.S. One. They flagged down a passing motorist, who called 911 on his cell phone to report the group’s arrival. The caller also said one woman in the group was dead. It reportedly appeared she’d been dead for some time. When deputies and Monroe County Emergency Services arrived at the scene, the found the dead woman and the rest of the group. Members of the group reportedly said they had not paid any money for their transportation to the U.S. Agents from Border Patrol arrived on the scene as well and took the refugees into their custody. The woman’s body was transported to Mariner’s Hospital.

Another female refugee, believed to be from the same group, was dropped off at Mariner’s Hospital with her husband. She was pronounced dead on arrival at the hospital. It is unknown who dropped the two of them off.

The first woman is identified as 73 year old Juana Maria Sanchez. The second woman has been identified as 27 year old Mileydis Cuellar Sanchez. Her husband is 27 year old Alain Aulet-Hernandez. He was taken into custody by Border Patrol.

Sheriff’s detectives are investigating. They will be talking to with federal authorities during the course of the day to determine who will ultimately be handling the case.

 

February 22, 2001

Deputies still looking for man who fled from accident scene

Islamorada – Sheriff’s deputies are still looking for a man who was involved in a hit and run accident while driving a stolen car Wednesday. He was stopped in Islamorada, but fled on foot from the traffic stop.

A search using the Sheriff’s Office “Night Star” helicopter and a Sheriff’s K-9 unit, as well as numerous officers, failed to turn up the man. A passenger who was in the car with him was arrested.

17 year old Charlene Johnson, of Columbia, South Carolina was charged with grand theft auto and resisting arrest without violence. She was booked into the Monroe County Detention Center. The car she was in was stolen from Miami Beach on January 21 of this year.

The hit and run accident occurred just before 2:30 p.m. on Conch Key. A 1992 Nissan Pathfinder with front end damage fled the scene of the accident northbound. A notice to be on the lookout for the Pathfinder went out over Sheriff’s Office radios and Deputy Winfred Higgins spotted the vehicle near the 81 mile marker and attempted a traffic stop. The vehicle sped up, then suddenly turned off the highway onto a side street by the Islamorada Library. The driver stopped at the end of the street near the water. Both he and Johnson jumped out and began to run. The deputy caught Johnson near the front of the car, but the driver escaped.

A perimeter was set up around the area, but a search failed to turn up the fleeing suspect. The investigation is continuing into who he might be and where he can be found. The Florida Highway Patrol is investigating the initial hit and run accident.

 

February 19, 2001

Big Pine teen charged with trafficking in marijuana

Big Pine Key – A Big Pine Key teenager was stopped for driving with his license suspended. He was also charged with trafficking in marijuana after the drug was found in his car.

Deputy Tom Peteck spotted 17 year old Peter Angelotti driving a 1993 Chevrolet Caprice northbound through Summerland Key Sunday in the early morning hours. The deputy knew Angelotti had a suspended driver’s license, so he radioed ahead for a deputy to stop the vehicle.

Deputy Maretta McNichol stopped the car on Big Pine Key. Angelotti was arrested for driving with license suspended. A search of his vehicle turned up 20 grams of marijuana under the two front seats. The drug was packaged as if for sale. Angelotti was further charged with possession of marijuana, and possession of a controlled substance with intent to sell. He was booked into the Monroe County Detention Center then released to the custody of his parents.

Microwave Relay Station vandalized

Sugarloaf Key – Vandals did a large amount of damage to a Microwave relay station on Sugarloaf Key over the weekend. The owner’s of the station, Tell Call Systems, estimate the value of the damage to be in excess of $200,000.00.

According to a report by Deputies Russ Stamets and Frank Gianino, suspects pried open a door to the facility. They knocked a large rack of equipment off it’s mounting and damaged a large amount of other equipment inside. In addition to equipment owned by Tell Call Systems, the building houses equipment belonging to a number of other businesses and both federal and state law enforcement agencies.

Investigations are continuing.

 

February 16, 2001

Marathon jewelry store burglarized

Marathon – Marathon detectives are asking for the public’s help in their investigation of a jewelry store burglary which took place in the early morning hours Thursday.

The store, Alo Jewelers, is located at 5157 Overseas Highway in Marathon and is easily visible from the highway. Detective Lionel Vargas thinks there is a good chance someone saw the break in as it was taking place. It happened at 4:10 a.m. Thursday. The suspects broke the glass in the front door and entered the store. They stole a large amount of jewelry, then left the same way they entered.

The glass breaking triggered the store’s alarm system and deputies responded almost immediately. The suspects were already gone.

Detective Vargas is asking anyone who was in the vicinity at that time, and who might have seen anything suspicious, to call him immediately at 289-2430. Callers who wish to remain anonymous can call Crime Stoppers of the Florida Keys. If the caller’s tip leads to an arrest, he or she will be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000.00. The Crime Stopper’s hot line number is 1-800-346-TIPS.

 

February 14, 2001

Man arrested for restaurant burglary

Key Largo – A Key Largo man has been arrested and charged with burglarizing an upper Keys restaurant last week.

Detectives arrested 24 year old Russell Muenzel Monday evening, charging him with burglary and theft. He is still in custody, with bond set at $50,000.00. He is accused of breaking in to Calypso’s Restaurant at the 99.6 mile marker of the highway at night while the restaurant was closed between February 5th and 6th.  Muenzel broke into a bar area near the back of the restaurant, taking beer, wine and stereo equipment.

Detective Dillon Corr received information the stolen items might be in a wooded area near the 94 mile marker of the highway. He discovered a “fort” in the woods. Some of the stolen items were found inside. Muenzel and another man were at the fort when the detective arrived.

Further investigation led to the arrest of Muenzel, who admitted to being involved in the break in. He was arrested and taken to the Monroe County Detention Center. Some of the stolen property, including beer, wine and some of the stereo equipment, was recovered.

Tow Truck operator charged with illegal dumping of cars

Stock Island – The owner and operator of Anchor Towing, based on Ramrod Key, was arrested by the Sheriff’s Office Thursday (February 8th) and charged with illegally dumping cars on Stock Island.

39 year old Marc Jester is accused of dumping three cars in the parking lot of Stock Island apartments. Jester’s tow company is on a rotation list for Key West Police, and he’d just towed the three abandoned cars from the city of Key West.

Two boys spotted him dumping the cars and reported it. Deputies stopped the tow truck described by the witnesses a short distance away. The driver identified himself as Jester, and said he was the owner of the tow company. The tow truck was missing proper identification markings on the outside of the vehicle which are required by law.

When he was questioned, Jester said he had permission to store abandoned cars there and had been doing so for some time. The owners of the apartment building were contacted and said they never gave anyone permission to put abandoned cars in their parking lot.

Jester was arrested and charged with felony illegal dumping.

Illegal dumping is a third degree felony when it involves a commercial enterprise, or when the amount dumped is over 500 pounds.

 

February 12, 2001

Bank Robbery, First State Bank

Summerland Key – Sheriff’s detectives are working with the Federal Bureau of Investigation to investigate a robbery at First State Bank on Summerland Key.

The robbery occurred Monday at 10:35 a.m. According to witnesses, the robber entered the bank, pulled out what looked like a small semi-automatic handgun and ordered everyone onto the floor. He then robbed the bank, fleeing on foot.

The suspect is described as a white male, five foot ten to six feet tall. He was dressed in black, with long black pants and a black hooded sweatshirt with the hood pulled up. He was wearing a white bandana covering his face and sunglasses. He may have blond hair and may speak with a slight Hispanic accent.

The investigation is continuing.

Search Warrant served in Marathon

Marathon – Detectives from the Sheriff’s Special Investigations Division served a search warrant Friday, arresting two Marathon men on drug charges.

The search warrant was obtained after detectives conducted a six month long investigation into possible drug sales at 10890 7th Avenue Gulf in Marathon. A search of the residence turned up marijuana, cocaine, drug paraphernalia and an unidentified prescription drug not prescribed to anyone who lives there.

37 year old Aaron Pannell was arrested and charged with possession of marijuana, cocaine and drug paraphernalia. 27 year old Jason Sanger was arrested and charged with possession of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia. Both men were taken to the Monroe County Detention Center.

Assisting in the service of the warrant was the Sheriff’s Special Weapons and Tactics Unit, a Florida Highway Patrol K-9 team and Sheriff’s Office road patrol officers.

Dead man in detention Center – update

Stock Island – Autopsy results on a man who died early Friday at the Monroe County Detention Center are inconclusive

According to the Medical Examiner’s Office, an autopsy on 38 year old Donald Hancock gave inconclusive results. Toxicology tests will be done to clarify the cause of Hancock’s death. Those results will most likely take 6 to8 weeks to return, if not longer.

Hancock is a North Carolina resident, whose father lives in Fort Myers.

Marathon man charged with child abuse

Marathon – A Marathon man was arrested Saturday night and charged with abusing a young boy.

40 year old Allen Wayne Hagan is charged with aggravated child abuse aggravated battery. He is accused of hitting the boy in the face, causing a fractured orbital socket. The boy also had scratches on his neck. The boy was flown to Miami Children’s Hospital for treatment of his injuries.

Hagan is currently in the Monroe County Detention Center being held on a $25,000 bond.

February 9, 2001

Man dies in Detention Center holding cell

Stock Island – A man brought in to the Sheriff’s Office Detention Center on Stock Island early today (Friday) died in a holding cell two hours after his arrival.

An autopsy will be done on the 38 year old man at 5 p.m. today to determine the cause of his death.

Sgt. Joey Passerelli was called to the Safe Harbor Marina on Stock Island just before 2 a.m. because dispatchers received reports of a naked man jumping on cars in the parking lot there. When the sergeant arrived, he found the 38-year-old man with no clothing and no identification. The man had damaged at least four cars in the lot by jumping on them. Sgt. Passerelli took the man into custody and handcuffed him, putting him in the back of his patrol car. During the course of the arrest, the man was belligerent, yelling and screaming and kicking the inside of the patrol car’s doors.

When Sgt. Passerelli and his prisoner arrived at the Detention Center on Stock Island at 2:20 a.m., the man continued to struggle. He was taken into a holding cell and placed into a restraint chair to keep him from hurting himself or anyone else. A member of the Detention Center medical unit checked the restraints to make sure they weren’t too tight. The man struggled so much, however, a complete medical screening was not done at that time. Detention Deputies were also unable to perform normal booking procedures because of his demeanor. He was placed on a “15 minute watch” during which an officer was assigned to check on him regularly to make sure he was all right.

A Detention Deputy checked him regularly until 4 a.m. At 4:08 a.m., a nurse in the intake and release area of he detention center walked by the holding cell and saw the man moving in the chair. At 4:18 a.m., the Detention Deputy walked to the cell to perform another regular check and found him unresponsive and not breathing. CPR was performed until Monroe County Emergency Medical Technicians arrived. The man was pronounced dead at the scene.

Detective Reace Thompson was called to investigate the circumstances surrounding the man’s death. Detective Thompson is attempting to find out where the man is from and where his family can be found. Investigations in the vicinity of Safe Harbor Marina turned up some people who could identify him and further investigation revealed he has a driver’s license from North Carolina, and was recently arrested in Georgia and is currently on parole there.

The man’s name is being withheld pending notification of his next of kin.

 

February 7, 2001

Man wanted in Oregon arrested in the Keys

Key Largo – A man wanted for violation of parole on charges of kidnapping and sexually abusing a two year old girl was arrested in Key Largo Tuesday by Sheriff’s detectives.

Detective David Carey took 68 year old Marshall Warren Gray into custody yesterday in the vicinity of the 100 mile marker of highway U.S. One. A confidential Crime Stoppers tip assisted in Gray’s apprehension. The tipsters will receive a monetary reward for their assistance.

According to authorities in Oregon, Gray kidnapped a two year old girl from a store in Eugene, Oregon in 1988. He penetrated the girl with his finger, then attempted to have sexual intercourse with her. He was convicted and sentenced to 20 years in prison. He was paroled in February of 2000, and violated that parole by leaving the state of Oregon without permission in December. He has been in the Key Largo area since then.

According to an official with the Oregon department of corrections, he has admitted to a number of other sexual offenses against children. He reportedly said he is attracted to two year old girls because they “aren’t old enough to tell their mothers.” He is currently in the Monroe County Detention Center being held until his extradition to Oregon.

Detective Carey wants to let the community know that this man could have been in the area for as long as two months. Anyone who has small children and who has had contact with him should contact Detective Carey, who has an ongoing investigation into Gray’s activities here. The phone number at the Plantation Key Substation is 305-853-3211.

Plane with landing gear problem causes “Alert” at Key West Airport

Key West – Sheriff’s Office Airport Security deputies assisted with an “Alert” situation at the Key West Airport Tuesday. The pilot of a small aircraft reported a problem with the plane’s landing gear just after 5 p.m.

Sgt. Jerome Fain said the pilot of the plane radioed that his landing gear wouldn’t lock on one side. The plane, a small two engine craft with two people on board, landed without a problem but when the plane tried to make a turn on the runway the landing gear one side collapsed and the plane dropped onto it’s wing. It was quickly cleared from the runway, however, with only a short interruption in the operation of the airport itself.

No one was injured in the incident.

 

February 6, 2001

Man charged with sexual activity with young girl

Monroe County – A 29 year old Key West man is under arrest charged with having sexual relations with a girl under the age of 16.

Darnell Henderson was arrested Monday. He is charged with three counts lewd and lascivious battery on a child under 16 years of age. His bond is set at $150,000.00.

The victim told Detective Chris Scott that she and Henderson have been engaging in sexual activity since December. The activity occurred on Big Pine Key and at Henderson’s residence in Key West.