Issued by the Media Relations Office,
Public Information Officer Deputy Becky Herrin
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January 31, 2008
Sheriff's Office investigates stabbing death
Big Pine Key - Sheriff's detectives are investigating what they believe to be a murder on Big Pine Key.
At 6:30 a.m., Deputies responded to reports of a man's body found in a shack just off of Lucretia Street in the Koehn Subdivision on Big Pine Key. 46 year old Jose Antonio Hernandez was found by his brother, apparently stabbed to death in the shack where he was known to stay while in the Keys. Hernandez lives in Miami with his wife, but spent considerable time on Big Pine Key, where he worked as a fisherman.
Sheriff's Homicide Detective Terry Smith is the lead investigator on the case. An autopsy will be done by the Medical Examiner’s Office tomorrow. Anyone with information about this case should contact the Sheriff’s Office immediately, or call Crime Stoppers of the Florida Keys. Callers to Crime Stoppers may remain anonymous and may receive a reward if their information leads to an arrest. The Crime Stoppers hot line number is 1-800-346-TIPS.
January 29, 2008
Counterfeit bills turning up
Big Pine Key - A deputy was dispatched to the Tom Thumb store on Big Pine Key Monday night to a report of counterfeit bills.
When Deputy David Chavka arrived at 8 p.m., the clerk told him the bills had been passed to him the night before. He said the manager noticed them at the end of his shift. The clerk says he thinks they came from a man who used them to pay for gas. He said the man gave him four $20 bills, filled his tank and received $16 in change. He says the man spoke Spanish, was 28 - 30 years old, short, heavy set and had black hair combed straight back. The bills had matching serial numbers, were printed on thicker paper than real bills and were darker green in color than real bills.
The manager took the bills to First State Bank. The bank filed a report with the Secret Service. First State Bank reportedly told the manager they had received similar counterfeit bills recently from other businesses.
January 25, 2008
Inmate charged with sexually battering cell mate
Stock Island - An inmate at the Detention Center on Stock Island has been charged with sexual battery after he raped another inmate.
33 year old Kenyatta Scott was charged with sexual battery today. A warrant was obtained for his arrest by Detective Mark Coleman. Bond on the warrant is set at $125,000.00. Scott has been in jail since September 8th, arrested by Key West Police on multiple charges, including battery on a law enforcement officer, criminal mischief, burglary, resisting arrest, disorderly conduct, possession of cocaine and paraphernalia.
On Sunday at 10 a.m., Deputy Kim Trullender was called to the main detention center on reports of a possible sexual battery. The 24 year old victim told the deputy and Detective Mark Coleman he was reading a letter from his boyfriend Saturday between noon and 1 p.m. when the incident occurred. He said the suspect, who was assigned to the same cell, grabbed the letter from him and read it. He said the suspect then told him to bend over the bunk, pulled down the victim's pants and raped him. The victim said he told the suspect several times to stop. He said the suspect finally stopped when he heard a corrections officer outside the cell, on his regular rounds.
The victim later wrote a note reporting the rape and gave it to a corrections officer, who then alerted his supervisor.
Man arrested for fleeing and eluding on a motorcycle
Key West - A motorcyclist in the city of Key West was arrested in the early morning hours today.
Deputy Greg Korzen was on North Roosevelt Boulevard in Key West just after 1 a.m. when he spotted a motorcycle traveling 52 miles per hour in a 35 mile per hour zone. He turned on his lights and siren to stop it, but the driver looked back, saw the patrol car, and accelerated.
The motorcycle fled, turning off the roadway, running over a curb and a grass median strip and into the Searstown parking lot. He sped through the drive thru at Wendy's Restaurant, finally coming to a stop in front of the Royal Furniture Store.
The driver, 36 year old Jason Goldenburg of Key West was arrested. He was charged with reckless driving, fleeing and eluding police, having no motorcycle endorsement and resisting arrest without violence. He was taken to jail.
Second arrest made in Key Haven burglary
Stock Island - A 16 year old Stock Island boy was the second person arrested in connection with a burglary at a Key Haven residence a week ago.
16 year old Miguel Ginart is accused of breaking in to a home on Amaryllis Drive with two other young men. The victim came home just before noon January 18th and found the three getting into a car near his house. Sitting beside the car was a safe he recognized as coming from inside his house. He ran up and struggled with the driver, who bit him on the finger. During the struggle, the victim managed to take the keys from the ignition of the suspect's car, a black Honda Accord. All three fled the scene with the victim following them for a distance before he lost them.
While Deputy Kim Trullender was on the scene interviewing the victim, one of the young men approached him. 19 year old Adan Morales of Stock Island told the deputy he'd been the one driving the car. The victim identified Morales as the suspect who bit him on the finger. He was taken into custody and charged with burglary, aggravated battery and grand theft.
Subsequent investigation identified Ginart as another one of the burglars. Detectives obtained a warrant for his arrest and he was picked up Thursday afternoon, charged with burglary and grand theft and booked into the Monroe County Detention Center.
The safe was returned to the victim. The car was seized for possible forfeiture. Detective Hamilton charged Morales with burglary and aggravated battery. He was booked into jail. More arrests are expected in the case.
January 23, 2008
Sheriff's detectives investigate sexual battery at jail
Stock Island - Sheriff's detectives are investigating reports of a sexual battery at the detention center on Stock Island.
Deputy Kim Trullender was called to the main detention center Sunday morning at 10 a.m. The 24 year old victim told the deputy and Detective Mark Coleman he was reading a letter from his boyfriend Saturday between noon and 1 p.m. when the incident occurred. He said the suspect, who was assigned to the same cell, grabbed the letter from him and read it. He said the suspect then told him to bend over the bunk, pulled down the victim's pants and raped him. The victim said he told the suspect several times to stop. He said the suspect finally stopped when he heard a corrections officer outside the cell, on his regular rounds.
The victim later wrote a note reporting the rape and gave it to a corrections officer, who then alerted his supervisor. At that point, the victim and suspect were separated and deputies and detectives were called in to investigate.
The investigation into the allegations is continuing.
Four arrested for vehicle burglaries in Islamorada
Islamorada - Four young people were arrested Tuesday morning after deputies responded to reports they were acting suspiciously and loitering around an Islamorada neighborhood.
Deputies responded to Bayview Isles Drive at 6:45 a.m. and found a group of five young men hanging around the area. As the deputies spoke with them, Sgt. Roy Bogue took a look around and discovered a holstered handgun under a bush nearby. When confronted with the gun, one of the boys, 16 year old Jason McKinney of Islamorada, admitted to putting it there. He said he'd stolen it from a vehicle parked in front of a nearby residence.
Further investigation revealed four vehicles had been burglarized by the group. The gun, a knife, a cell phone, a briefcase and other items were taken from the vehicles.
Four of the five young men were identified as taking part in or knowing about the burglaries. McKinney was charged with burglary of a vehicle while armed and grand theft of a firearm. 20 year old Richard Mercado of Orlando was charged with burglary of a vehicle and giving a false name to law enforcement. He initially lied about his name, but fingerprint and driver's license checks revealed his dishonesty. 21 year old John Popkins of Orlando was charged with giving a false name to law enforcement. He also was caught by a fingerprint and DL check. 17 year old Patrick Bosque of Key Largo was charged with burglary of a vehicle. More charges in these cases may be forthcoming.
A reckless driving report which was received by Sheriff's dispatchers turned out to be connected to this case. The reckless driving report involved a vehicle which belonged to Popkins. A search warrant was obtained for the car, which was parked nearby, in the hopes that some of the stolen property would be recovered from it. Instead, deputies found a gun in the trunk that was stolen from Orlando in October and a digital scale with marijuana residue on it. Popkins was additionally charged with grand theft, possession of a stolen firearm, possession of drug paraphernalia and driving with his license suspended.
January 22, 2008
Men arrested for concealed weapons
Plantation Key – Two men from Trenton, Florida were arrested Saturday after deputies found them sleeping in their truck, and then discovered they both had concealed weapons that were not permitted.
Deputies David Minor and Patrick Crozier were in the vicinity of the 90 mile marker of the highway at 3 a.m. Saturday when they noticed a truck parked near the Boat Mart. The truck had a Mississippi tag which, when checked through the computer, came back “no record found”. Because the deputies noticed an outboard motor in the back of the truck, and because there have recently been outboard motor thefts in the upper Keys, they decided to check the circumstances further.
Two men were sleeping in the truck. The driver, 49 year old Edward Ealum and the passenger, 24 year old Justin Edmonds were both from Trenton, Florida. When deputies questioned them, Ealum said he was in the area to make a delivery. When asked about the motor in the back of his truck, he said he was delivering the motor to New Orleans. He had no paperwork about either alleged delivery.
Deputy Minor asked Sheriff’s dispatchers to run a check on the serial numbers of the 225 hp Evinrude engine. The numbers returned with a possible stolen hit, but the information returned to dispatch was for a Johnson motor. The motor was seized and will be investigated further.
Further investigation revealed each man had a handgun tucked into pockets in the driver and passenger doors. The one in the driver’s door, when checked through dispatch, turned out to be reported stolen. Both men were arrested. The guns, the truck and the engine were seized. Ealum was charged with being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm, carrying a concealed firearm and possession of a stolen firearm; Edmonds was charged with carrying a concealed firearm. Both men were booked into jail.
January 20, 2008
Accident on the 18 mile stretch
An accident in the early morning hours Saturday resulted in the airlift of one person and possibly other injuries.
The Florida Highway Patrol is the investigating agency on this case. According to Sheriff's Office dispatch notes, the accident took place at 3:30 a.m. at the 112.5 mm, at the county line between Monroe County and Miami-Dade County. It involved a small vehicle and a tanker truck. The small vehicle caught on fire after the accident occurred.
The road was closed until 5:20 a.m. Traffic was diverted onto Card Sound Road during the investigation of the crash.
Burglary suspects caught in the act by victim
Key Haven - A burglary victim caught three men stealing a safe from his home on Amaryllis Drive in Key Haven Friday.
The victim came home just before noon and found three men getting into a car near his house. sitting beside the car was a safe he recognized as coming from inside his house. He ran up and struggled with the driver, who bit him on the finger. During the struggle, the victim managed to take the keys from the ignition of the suspect's car, a black Honda Accord. All three fled the scene with the victim following them for a distance before he lost them.
While Deputy Kim Trullender was on the scene interviewing the victim, a man approached him. 19 year old Adan Morales of Stock Island told the deputy he'd been the one driving the car. He was taken into custody and turned over to Detective Henry Hamilton for further investigation. The victim identified Morales as the suspect who bit him on the finger.
The safe was returned to the victim. The car was seized for possible forfeiture. Detective Hamilton charged Morales with burglary and aggravated battery. He was booked into jail. More arrests are expected in the case.
Woman reports possible attempted rape
Stock Island - A New York woman reported being attacked while riding on the bike path on Stock Island in the early morning hours Saturday.
The 23 year old victim told Deputy Caridad Bellon she was riding northbound on the bike path which parallels U.S. One on Stock Island, by the golf course. She said it was shortly after midnight, and there was little traffic and no one else around when the attack occurred. She said a man came out from behind a palm tree and knocked her from her bike. He hit her, and then attempted to rape her. The victim fought him off, kicking him several times before he finally ran southbound. She said she rode her bike to a nearby campground and called the Sheriff's Office for help.
Deputies searched the area and found belongings including a backpack, boots and some identification which might belong to a possible suspect in the case. The victim says her attacker was about five foot five inches tall, heavy set and Hispanic. She said he spoke Spanish as he was attacking her. Detectives will be investigating further.
January 18, 2008
Stabbing suspect arrested
Big Pine Key - A Big Pine man was arrested today, charged with stabbing another man with a knife Wednesday night.
40 year old Michael Armstrong is accused of stabbing the 56 year old victim with a knife in the side and back. The victim was taken to Fisherman's Hospital and then airlifted to Ryder Trauma Center in Miami by the Sheriff's Trauma Star helicopter.
The two men reportedly work together and had a verbal altercation at work which later turned physical once they returned home. Both men live at Castaway's Trailer Park on Big Pine Key.
Armstrong was arrested today and charged with aggravated battery. He was booked into the Monroe County Detention Center.
January 17, 2008
Key Deer killed by spear
Big Pine Key - The Sheriff's Office and the Key Deer Refuge are investigating the death of a Key Deer who may have been killed with a spear through the neck.
Deputy David Brummer responded to Kyle Boulevard Wednesday at 10:30 p.m. to reports of a deer tangled in something. He found the deer in some bushes. It had a three foot long metal rod, later identified as a spear used in spear fishing, through it's neck.
Sheriff's dispatchers called the Key Deer Refuge and employees of the refuge took custody of the animal which was later reportedly euthanized due to it's injuries.
The cause and manner of the dear's death is under investigation. Anyone with information should contact the Sheriff's Office or call Crime Stoppers of the Florida Keys. Callers to Crime Stoppers may remain anonymous and may be eligible for a monetary reward. The Crime Stoppers hot line number is 1-800-346-TIPS.
Stabbing under investigation on Big Pine Key
Big Pine Key - A stabbing on Big Pine Key resulted on one man being airlifted to Maimi for treatment of his wounds.
The 56 year old victim, Pierre Valence, told Deputy Mark Maison he and the suspect, 40 year old Michael Armstrong, work together. He said they got into an altercation at work which then continued when they arrived home. They both live at Castaways Trailer Park on Big Pine Key.
Witnesses say that just before 11 p.m. they saw Armstrong hitting the victim with a golf club, then heard the victim yell that he was being stabbed. When Deputy Maison arrived, he found both men still on the scene. The suspect told him where the knife was that he used to stab the victim. The victim had wounds on the side and on his back. He was transported to Fishermen's Hospital and then flown by the Sheriff's Trauma Star helicopter to Miami's Ryder Trauma Center for treatment of his injuries. Investigations continue.
January 10, 2008
Stock Island man charged with burglaries
Stock Island - Detectives have arrested a Stock Island man, charging him with burglarizing a business, storage trailer and a vehicle on Stock Island.
On January 1st, a deputy took a report of a burglarized trailer on 5th Avenue, Stock Island. A large amount of musical equipment was stolen, including amplifiers, microphones, and a guitar. Then, sometime between Monday and Tuesday of this week, burglaries were reported at the Hilltop Laundry and to a vehicle parked on Front Street, Stock Island. Cash was taken from the laundromat and a camera, rods and reels and tools were taken from the van that was broken into.
Detectives, with the assistance of road patrol officers, received information that 39 year old John Lambert may have committed the crimes. They confronted him and he admitted to the three break ins. Lambert told them he'd given some of the cash to a woman to buy crack cocaine, and that he'd traded some of the other items for crack cocaine as well.
Some of the stolen items were recovered in and around two trailers at the Ocean Breeze Trailer Park on McDonald Avenue on Stock Island. The stolen property will be returned to the owners. Lambert was charged with three counts burglary, three counts theft and criminal mischief. He was booked into the Monroe County Detention Center. More arrests may be pending.
January 7, 2008
Man's body found offshore of Pigeon Key
Marathon - Sheriff's detectives are working to try and identify a man whose body was found floating off shore of Pigeon Key today.
The reporting person called Sheriff's dispatchers from the north end of the Seven Mile Bridge at 9:25 a.m. to report he'd just seen a body floating in the water. He said it floated under the bridge and toward Pigeon Key.
Dispatchers called for assistance from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and the U.S. Coast Guard. Both agencies had boats in the water and FWC located the body, which was taken to the U.S. Coast Guard Station in Marathon. Detective Mark Coleman was assigned to investigate the case.
The man was not carrying any identification and at this time detectives say they do not know who he is. He is a white male, perhaps in his mid to late 50s. He has a medium build of approximately five feet eight inches tall and 170 pounds. He is clean shaven and has salt and pepper hair, collar length, and was found wearing black colored sweat pants and two layered short sleeved t-shirts - the outer one gray and the one underneath is white. His shoes were black athletic type.
He had two injuries which Detective Coleman said looked like they may have been preexisting: he had an injured ear, and an injury to his forehead which was bandaged.
Anyone with information about who this man might be should contact the Sheriff’s Office immediately.
January 6, 2008
Summerland woman violently resists arrest for DUI
Cudjoe Key - A Summerland Key woman is under arrest, charged with driving under the influence of alcohol and with violently resisting arrest.
Sgt. Jeremy Davy was on patrol at 10:30 p.m. Saturday when he spotted a 2003 Cadillac SUV speeding on Caribbean Drive on Cudjoe. The car failed to stop at the stop sign where the road intersects with Highway U.S. One and pulled onto the highway in front of a line of cars. Sgt. Davy got behind the car and clocked it at 70 miles per hour in a 45 mile per hour zone.
When he pulled the car over at the 23 mile marker, he could smell alcohol on the driver's breath. 31 year old Mary Edgington admitted to drinking, and there was a plastic cup beside her with a brown liquid of some sort in it.
As Sgt. Davy was continuing his investigation, Edgington suddenly rolled up her window, locked her door and lit a cigarette. She picked up her cellular phone and told him she was calling her attorney. She also told Sgt. Davy she was not going to do anything he asked her to do.
The male passenger in the car was compliant and, when Sgt. Davy approached his window, he did not hesitate to open it. Sgt. Davy opened the passenger door and removed the passenger in order to gain access to Edgington. He asked her to exit the car to participate in field sobriety exercises. She refused. He told her she was under arrest and ordered her to get out of the car. She refused. He warned her that when backup officers arrived, if she failed to comply, they would have to use force to remove her from the car or possibly use a Taser to gain her compliance. She still refused to cooperate.
Deputy Martin Malone arrived on the scene. The two officers began to forcibly remove Edgington from the car. She fought with them violently. The officers finally used a Taser which caused her to fall to the ground and they were able to handcuff her. As she was escorted to a patrol car, she continued to fight kicking Sgt. Davy multiple times in the leg.
Edgington was charged with reckless driving, driving under the influence of alcohol, resisting arrest with violence; she was given citations for running a stop sign and for speeding. She was booked into jail.
January 5, 2007
Reports of a gun lead to drug arrests
Tavernier - Deputies responding to reports of a man waving a gun around in the street Friday afternoon wound up arresting two people for drug possession.
Callers to Sheriff's dispatchers said the suspect with the gun was driving a white Ford Crown Victoria. As Deputy Eric Thomas was on his way to Dickie Way at 2:45 p.m., he spotted the car northbound at the 95 mile marker of the highway. Deputy Thomas, assisted by Deputy Iscandel Perez, pulled the car over. They removed the driver, 19 year old Brian Gonzalez of Miami and the passenger, 25 year old Ayleen Garcia of Key Largo, from the car.
A search of the car turned up a yellow Perry Ellis perfume box behind the passenger seat. Inside the box, Deputy Thomas found several plastic bags containing marijuana and a black airsoft pellet gun. He also found a small black leather bag containing several plastic bags of cocaine.
Garcia and Gonzalez were both arrested and charged with possession of marijuana with intent to deliver, possession of cocaine and drug paraphernalia. They were booked into jail.
Motorcyclist injured in accident
A single vehicle motorcycle accident left one man severely injured on the Long Key Bridge this evening (Saturday).
According to a witness who called Sheriff's dispatchers, the motorcyclist may have tried to pass between a car and a truck when the accident took place just after 6 p.m.
The injured driver was transported to the Ryder Trauma Center in Miami by the Sheriff's Trauma Star helicopter. Both lanes of traffic were blocked for approximately one hour. They are now open to alternating traffic and should open completely in a short time.
Aircraft diverted to Boca Chica airfield
This afternoon just before 4 p.m., a Delta aircraft with passengers and crew on board had to be diverted to the Boca Chica Naval Air Station to land because warning lights reportedly indicated there might be a problem with the braking system on the plane. The plane landed without incident and with no injuries. Passengers were transported from there back to Key West.
There is no more information available about this incident. No offense reports were completed by the Sheriff's Office.
January 4, 2008
Update on recent dive deaths
Although detectives have not been able to locate next of kin for notification, they have decided to release the name of the Wisconsin man who died December 31st while diving offshore of Key Largo.
The man is identified as Peter Wilsand, 51, from Minette, Wisconsin. He was out on the Gulf Stream Eagle out of the Atlantis Dive Center. It was his second dive of the day. His first dive was on the Duane wreck, and the second on the Bibb wreck.
His dive buddy said they'd been down for about 25 minutes and were surfacing. They did a safety stop and the dive buddy said the victim left the safety stop about a minute before he did. He said he surfaced and a crew member from the boat was assisting him with removal of his equipment when they noticed the victim, face down near the surface.
The victim was pulled on board and crew members began CPR. The Coast Guard responded to a distress call and took the victim to shore, where he was pronounced dead, at approximately 12:30 p.m.
Preliminary autopsy results are pending microscopic examination, according to the Monroe County Medical Examiners Office.
Note: Autopsy results on the other dive death victim, Nancy Kreiter of Maryland, are the same - pending microscopic examination.
January 2, 2007
Note: As of 5 p.m. today, January 2, 2008, the family of the Wisconsin man who died diving has not yet been notified of his death. We are still withholding his name until we have a chance to make a few more notification attempts. Thanks for your patience.
Man charged with reckless driving
After repeated reports to Sheriff's dispatchers of a reckless driver, deputies arrested a Miami man who said he was on the way to Key West to buy some shrimp.
Deputy Winifred Higgins was notified by dispatchers about the 1995 red Jeep raveling southbound, passing in no passing zones and driving other cars off the road. He spotted the car at the 84 mile marker and pulled into traffic behind it. As he followed the jeep, he saw it pull into the opposite lane to pass a car, driving a northbound vehicle off the road.
Deputy Higgins turned on his lights and siren in an effort to stop the jeep. The driver, 57 year old John Laundry, again moved into the northbound lane in a no passing zone, forcing a truck and a car off the road. Several other cars ere forced to slam on their brakes and swerve to the shoulder. As the Jeep pulled back into the southbound lane, Laundry suddenly braked and skidded off the road and onto the grassy shoulder of the road stopping near the 76 mile marker.
Laundry was taken into custody and charged with reckless driving. When asked where he was going in such a hurry, he said he was going to Key West to buy some shrimp.
Woman charged with burglary, battery on occupants
A Miami woman is under arrest, charged with forcing her way in to her estranged husband's house, attacking him and his girlfriend, then damaging both their cars.
22 year old Jessica Ramos forced her way in to the residence on first Street on Stock Island at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday. She attacked both victims and threatened to damage both their cars with a baseball bat, which she pulled out of her car. She grabbed both their car keys from inside the house, ran outside and threw them away. She then used her car keys to scratch both victim's cars, damaging them extensively. She left the scene before deputies arrived.
She was found at a nearby residence and she was arrested. She was charged with two counts of battery, criminal mischief and burglary with battery on the occupant. She was booked into jail.