Monroe County Sheriff’s Office
Daily Crime and Information Report

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

September 18, 2003

Marathon man charged with false imprisonment, aggravated assault

( .wav file - 76 sec)

Marathon – A Marathon man was arrested on an outstanding warrant Wednesday for false imprisonment and aggravated assault. The charges stem from a domestic incident which occurred in August during which he threatened to kill his wife, hit her and held a knife to her throat.

The victim called the Sheriff’s Office on the evening of August 20th. She said her estranged husband, 45 year old William Christman of Marathon, held her against her will and threatened to kill her and she was afraid. When Deputy Lin Badman arrived at the victim’s location to speak with her, the victim said she went to her husband’s trailer to talk with him earlier in the day. She said she’s still married to him, but no longer lives with him.

She said he pushed her onto the sofa and put his hands around her neck, choking her. He hit her several times and when she tried to leave, he sat at the door holding knives in his hands, telling her she was not allowed to leave the residence. Over the course of a three hour period, between 2 p.m and 5 p.m. that day, she said he held her in the trailer against her will. At one point, she said he held a knife to her throat and to his own throat. She managed once to run from the trailer, but he chased her, grabbed her by the hair and dragged her back inside.

A warrant was issued for Christman. He was arrested Wednesday, charged with false imprisonment, aggravated assault and battery. He was booked into the Monroe County Detention Center. Bond on the warrant is set at $50,000.00.

September 15, 2003

Man dead after domestic dispute in Key Largo

( .wav file - 56 sec)

Key Largo – A Key Largo man is dead of a knife wound he is believed to have sustained during a domestic dispute with his girlfriend in the early morning hours Sunday.

50 year old Leon George Gardner, of Key Largo, reportedly stumbled down the street from his home in Hibiscus Park and collapsed outside a neighbor’s house. She found him lying outside her door just before 5 a.m., in a pool of blood. She called the Sheriff’s Office.

Deputies rushed to the scene and Gardner was loaded into an ambulance, but he was pronounced dead at Mariner’s Hospital. It appeared from initial examinations of his body that he died of a knife wound to the side of his neck. An autopsy will be done to determine the official cause of his death.

Reports about what happened are sketchy, but detectives say they believe Gardner received the fatal knife wound during a domestic dispute with his live-in girlfriend, 45 year old Silvia Milton. The case is still under investigation. No one has been charged in the case at this time.

Miami man charged with fondling teens

( .wave file - 79 sec)

Islamorada – A 26 year old Miami man who worked at the Florida Seabase Camp in Islamorada in August was arrested Thursday for allegedly fondling teenage boys attending the camp.

The incidents took place the afternoon of August 13th. The victims, four boys age 14 to 15 were interviewed by a Detective with the Sheriff’s Crimes Against Women and Children’s Unit. They told the detective they were fondled by Keith Walker while taking a scuba diving class at the camp. Walker was the scuba instructor for the class. They said Walker reached under their bathing suits and fondled their genitals with his fingers during the course of the scuba lessons. After the fondling incidents took place, the boys reported what happened to their scout leaders at the camp. The Scout leaders then told the General Manager.

The General Manager, Dennis St. Jean, confronted Walker and immediately insisted he leave the camp property. He then reported the incident to authorities.

After extensive investigation of the reports, Detective Smith drafted a warrant for four counts of lewd and lascivious acts on a minor. The warrant was signed by Judge Garcia, with bond set at $150,000.00. The warrant was served by officers from Miami Dade Police Department on Thursday. Walker is currently being held in a Miami-Dade County Detention Center. He will be returned to Monroe County to face the charges.

September 12, 2003

Two arrested for boat theft in Islamorada

Islamorada – Two Miami teens were arrested Thursday, charged with stealing a boat, reportedly in an attempt to go to Cuba.

According to reports by Deputy Nelson Sanchez, the two said they were wandering around the Holiday Isle Resort at 1:30 p.m. when they saw the 24 foot Sea Ray tied to a dock. They jumped in and started it up, heading out from the dock. At that point, the owner saw his boat leaving with the two suspects on board. He jumped on another boat and gave chase, also calling the Sheriff’s Office to report his boat was being stolen.

The couple ran the stolen boat aground almost immediately. They jumped off and ran across a flats area to the area of the Whale Harbor bar. Deputies and Detectives arrived in the area and began searching for them. They had a good description of the suspects from the owner of the boat.

A short time later, Deputy Sanchez was notified by an employee of the Whale Harbor bar that the two were hiding in a closet. They were taken into custody without incident, charged with Grand Theft.

17 year old Lazaro Fernandez-Martinez said he and his girlfriend, 14 year old Andrea Paredes, ran away together Tuesday. He said they stole a motorcycle, but were stopped by the Florida Highway Patrol in Key Largo and the motorcycle was impounded because he didn’t have a motorcycle endorsement on his license. At that point, the motorcycle had apparently not been reported stolen, so they were not charged.

He said they walked until they got to Holiday Isle. He said he was going to go to Cuba on the boat they stole. When Deputy Sanchez asked the boy if he knew how to get to Cuba, he said he’d done research on the Internet, and he knew to head due south from Islamorada to get to Cuba.

 Big Pine man arrested for shooting dog

Big Pine Key – A Big Pine Key man who shot a dog to death Thursday was arrested for cruelty to animals.

48 year old Randall Lyons said he’d been bringing the 9mm handgun to the Keys from his home in Michigan specifically because of the dog that lives at the house next door to his on Marigold Drive. He said the dog keeps jumping the fence and won’t let him and his wife into their own home.

On this occasion, he said the dog jumped the fence, so he got the gun out of his car, loaded it and shot the dog. Witnesses say he chased the dog into the street before firing the gun at the dog twice, killing it.

Deputies Chris Duncan, Dave Chavka and Jen LaScala responded to the scene. Lyons was arrested and charged with cruelty to animals. He was booked into the Monroe County Detention Center.

 September 9, 2003

Traffic stop leads to drug arrest

( .wav file - 91 sec.)

Key Largo – Detectives and deputies stopped a car Monday in Key Largo, arresting the driver for possessing a large amount of cocaine. 83 grams of the drug were prevented from being distributed on the streets of Monroe County and will, instead, be destroyed.

A Detective with the Special Investigations Division was following the 1984 Oldsmobile passenger car southbound at 8:10 a.m. when he saw the car stop and the two people inside change places. The driver, later identified as 24 year old Taurus Hines of Miami, moved to the passenger seat and the passenger, later identified as 18 year old Tameka Tubbs of Marathon, moved to the driver’s seat. The detective ran a check on the license tag, which came back as belonging to a person with a suspended driver’s license. A marked patrol unit was nearby and a traffic stop was performed on the car.

A check was done on both Tubbs and Hines. Hines had a suspended driver’s license and, since the detective saw him driving the car, he was arrested and charged with driving with a suspended license.

Deputy Tim Hurd, with his K-9, was called to the scene and did a check of the outside of the vehicle. The dog alerted on the rear passenger side door, indicating there were drugs in the car.

A search revealed 31 grams of powdered cocaine and 52 grams of crack cocaine in cookie form. The drugs were hidden in a pair of men’s shorts in the back seat. At that point, Tubbs admitted the drugs belonged to her. She said she bought the drugs in Perrine, Florida and was taking them to Marathon to sell.

Tubbs was placed under arrest, charged with trafficking in cocaine. Both of them were booked into the Monroe County Detention Center.

Man arrested for trying to sell stolen fishing gear

( .wav file - 51 sec.)

Marathon – A Marathon man was arrested Sunday after he was found at a local convenience store selling stolen rods and reels in the parking lot.

56 year old Elam Robinson was in the parking lot of the Dion’s Quik Mart in Marathon attempting to sell the stolen rods and reels when Deputies Andrew Ensminger and Willie Guerra arrived at 7:45 p.m. The deputies were dispatched to the store on a report of suspicious activity.

The rods and reels fit the description of fishing equipment stolen from the back of a pickup truck parked at the Buccaneer Resort last week. They were valued at almost $1,000.00.

According to witnesses, Robinson and another man were in the parking lot trying to sell the equipment for $40.00. The other man reportedly left the area just before the deputies arrived.

Robinson was placed under arrest, charged with grand theft and dealing in stolen property. He was booked into the Monroe County Detention Center.

Miami man dies offshore of Key Largo

( .wav file - 62 sec)

Key Largo – A Miami man died of apparent drowning off shore of the Key Largo area Monday afternoon.

52 year old Jose Morales of Miami was on an overnight boat trip, sponging with two friends. According to reports by Deputy Keith Nyman, they were about four miles off shore, in the vicinity of Card Sound at 5:30 p.m. when the incident occurred. According to his friends, 61 year old Demenico Fernandez and 62 year old Carmelo Miranda, they were cooking dinner on the boat when Morales said he was going for a swim. When he didn’t return after about 20 minutes, Fernandez went looking for him in a dinghy. He found him floating a short distance away.

He pulled his body into the dinghy, but the dinghy’s motor wouldn’t start. Miranda came to get them in the larger boat. He radioed to the Coast Guard for help and was directed to go to Ocean Reef to meet paramedics and deputies. By the time they arrived at shore, Morales was pronounced dead.

There were no obvious signs of foul play on Morales’ body. An autopsy will be done to confirm the cause of his death.

September 4, 2003

Big Pine man charged with domestic battery, child abuse

( .wav file - 51 sec)

Big Pine Key – A Big Pine Key man has been arrested charged with domestic battery and child abuse.

21 year old Dustin Clever is accused of beating his wife on the legs with a leather belt. He is also accused of spanking a small child with a plastic spoon, leaving numerous welts on the child’s legs. The abuse cases occurred on August 28th. Deputies and detectives investigated the incidents.

According to reports, he beat the child because the child was misbehaving. He said the child used a pen to draw on the walls of the house. He said he hit his wife with the belt because when he came home from work, she was sleeping and hadn’t cleaned the house properly before going to bed.

Clever was booked into the Monroe County Detention Center Wednesday, charged with domestic battery and felony child abuse. Total bond on the two charges is $40,000.00.

September 2, 2003

Three arrested for breaking in to Plantation Key home, attacking residents

( .wav file - 130 seconds)

Plantation Key – Three men were arrested Monday night, charged with breaking in to a Plantation Key home and attacking the people who live there.

According to the victims, 33 year old Andrea Ross and 42 year old Robert Naids, they were inside their home on Gulfside Drive at 8:30 p.m. when someone knocked on the door. Ross asked who was there and a man replied, “James”. When she opened the door, three men pushed their way inside. The men were wearing black ski masks. They were carrying duct tape and rope, and were carrying latex gloves with them. They shoved her to the ground and hit her several times.

One man ran upstairs. Naids confronted the man, struggled with him and pushed him down the stairs. At that point, all three of the suspects fled the scene, leaving behind two ski masks which had been ripped off during the struggle, as well as some duct tape and a small piece of rope. Ross said during the struggle, she heard one of the men yell “Nelson” several times.

Ross ran outside screaming for help. Neighbors across the canal came outside in time to see the suspect’s vehicle fleeing from the scene. Sheriff’s Office dispatchers were called and deputies were dispatched to the scene. The neighbors were able to give dispatchers a good description of the car, including the fact that one of the taillights was broken. A notice to be on the lookout for the car was put out over all police radios.

A Florida Highway Patrol trooper spotted the car near the 92 mile marker, traveling northbound. Three men were in the car, and when they saw the trooper’s patrol vehicle, two of them slid down in the seat. The trooper called for assistance and two more troopers, along with officers from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission responded. The suspect vehicle was stopped at the 100 mile marker of the highway without incident. The three men inside were detained. Their car was positively identified by the witnesses who saw it flee the scene on Gulfside Drive. The three men fit the description the victim’s gave of their attackers and they were positively identified by the victim’s as the men who attacked them.

All three men were taken into custody. 21 year old Nelson Johnson, of Tavernier, 14 year old Vladmir Siriac of Sunrise, Florida and 19 year old Daniel Hernandez of Homestead, Florida were all charged with Burglary with battery on the occupant. They were booked into the Monroe County Detention Center.