The Bizarre World of Florida

Dad uses son, 2, as human shield to avoid arresting officer April 8, 2014

sfl-dad-uses-son-2-to-stop-officer-from-arrest-001A Brevard County man used his 2-year-old child to shield himself from an officer trying to arrest him on shoplifting charges, according to a report.

Edward L. Smathers Jr., 39, has been charged with grand theft, aggravated child neglect, resisting an officer and probation violation in the Sunday afternoon incident.

Melbourne police say Smathers took $500 worth of items from Home Depot on Wickham Road, put them down the front of his pants and walked out of the store without paying.

When Smathers was confronted by an officer, police say he tried to push past the officer and go back to his vehicle. According to the report, as the officer was attempting to arrest Smathers, Smathers picked up his 2-year-old child from the backseat to prevent the officer from putting him under arrest.

Samthers was then arrested and later said that he was using his son to prevent the officer from arresting him.


Mother made her children regurgitate food and then eat it again, held her children’s heads underwater and pretty much tortured them for 8 years March 29, 2014

A mother starved, beat and tortured her two-16-year-old children for more than eight years, police have said.

Jamie Marie Hicks, 43, allegedly inflicted cruelty on the two children at her home in North Tampa, Florida while their stepfather, 53-year-old Vernon Courtney Lovell, looked on and did nothing.

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Arrested: Jamie Hicks, left, has been accused of abusing her two 16-year-old children for more than eight years, while her husband Vernon Lovell, right, allegedly knew about the abuse but did nothing to help them

She hit them with various objects, choked them to the point of unconsciousness and held their heads under water, according to a police report reported in the Tampa Bay Times.

She also withheld food from them for up to three days at a time, they told police, and on other occasions, she fed them spoiled food or made them regurgitate food and then eat it again.

The alleged abuse came to light when the children went to Mary Lee’s House, a nonprofit child protection organization, where they told child advocates about what they had endured.

The children, whose genders have not been released, said their mother abused them while their stepfather failed to seek medical attention, even though he was aware of the abuse.

A pediatric nurse carried out a physical examination of the children on Thursday and found signs of severe malnutrition and both were hospitalized, according to police.

One of the children weighed 88 pounds and the other weighed 94 pounds, whereas a healthy weight for their age is 135 pounds.

Lovell has lived with Hicks and the children for 13 years, the report said.

Both are being held without bail.

Hicks, who worked as manager of her husband’s handyman services company, was being held in the Hillsborough County Jail on Friday on aggravated child abuse charges.

Lovell also remains in the jail and faces accusations of child neglect.


Teenage girl hosted a wild alcohol-fueled party that saw 5 teens taken to the hospital while dad slept! March 17, 2014

article-2582126-1C5876E900000578-586_306x423Five teenagers were rushed to hospital from an alcohol fueled party thrown by a teenage girl – while her father claimed he slept through it all.

Two of the teens are said to be in a critical condition with reports they had mixed alcohol with the anti-anxiety drug Xanax.

Neighbors saw the teens being wheeled away on gurneys into waiting ambulances while dozens of others teens fled when police arrived.

Steve Miller, whose teen daughter hosted the party and was among those rushed to hospital, told local TV he was asleep while as many as 100 people crammed into his home.

Miller, a father of six, claimed he had no idea there would be alcohol at the party – but did not say if he had checked.

He insisted he slept through all the noise as 100 teens flocked to his home in Winter Garden, Florida.

‘If my daughter told me they were going to have alcohol I wouldn’t have permitted it,’Miller said.

‘I didn’t see any drugs.’

Police said the teenagers taken to hospital had passed out from drink but fear they may have also taken drugs.

‘We found five teenagers who appeared to have overdosed on alcohol and we are not sure of what type of drug right now,’said Lt. Paul Hopkins from the Orange County Sheriff’s Office.

Investigators said they spotted numerous underage kids partying at the home.

They said one was unconscious and five were sickened, apparently from drinking too much alcohol.

The victims were boys and girls between the ages of 15 and 17.

Neighbors were stunned by the scenes in their road on Friday night and said they were kept awake by the noise.

‘I’ve been living here 30 years, and I’ve never really seen anything going on over there. It just surprises me. I’m like, ‘Wow.’ Hopefully, the kids  are going to be OK,’ a neighbor said.

Deputies said the conditions of the teens had improved over the weekend and they said the parents apparently didn’t know someone had brought alcohol  into the home.

Doreen Blume said Miller’s daughter was one of the hospitalized teens.

Blume said Miller did the right thing.

‘He confiscated all kinds of alcohol, big bottles,’ Blume said.

Other neighbors said deputies have been to the home before.

The Department of Children and Families has launched an investigation because of concerns about alcohol and supervision.


Just because you think your kid is acting like a little shit doesn’t mean you get to use a plunger on him February 24, 2014

A Brooksville man was arrested Thursday after a Florida Department of Children and Families investigation revealed he allegedly struck a child on the thigh with the wooden handle of a plunger.

untitledWalter Charles Allen Jr., 33, of Moon Road, was charged with one count of cruelty toward a child without great bodily harm.

An arrest report shows Allen admitted to striking the child because he was upset with the child, lost his temper and did not mean to hit the child that hard with the handle.

The arrest report contained redacted information because of the child’s age and did not specify Allen’s relationship to the child.

He was held at the Hernando County Jail on $500 bond, jail records show.

Jail records also show Allen has been arrested several times in Hernando County in the past for probation violation and a traffic offense.


Dad nabbed for his 5th DUI — this time, with 3 kids in car January 31, 2014

sfl-flduh-dad-dui-kids-20140129-001A 38-year-old father was arrested on his fifth DUI charge while driving with three kids in the car, police said.

Brian Whittemore’s field sobriety test was caught on camera.

Lake Mary police said 38-year-old Whittemore was spotted outside a liquor store with a child hanging out of the car. Three children were in the car at the time, but only one of the children was Whittemore’s.

“It was my wife’s birthday. Bringing the kids home. I’m just trying to get home, that’s it. I got three kids in the car, screaming and yelling. It is what it is,” Whittemore said.

Sources tell WESH 2 Whittemore was previously arrested for DUI in 1996, 1997, 1998 and 2012. He’s also been accused of driving with a suspended license and two counts of assault.

Investigators said he put lives in danger with this latest run-in with the law.

“You’re talking about small children. You’re going to drive around with small kids in the car. They aren’t strapped in. They are not seat-belted in,” said Zachary Hudson, Lake Mary Police Department spokesman. “If you get in an accident, those kids are going to go out the windows. That would be tragic. That’s unacceptable.”


Baby ejected from car hit by train after dad drove around arm bar January 28, 2014

Filed under: Bad Father,Dangerous Nut,Dumb,Florida Nut,Sad Story,Scary,Stupid,WTF? — floridaduh @ 8:09 pm


An Orlando father has been charged after his infant son was ejected from a car that collided with an Amtrak train in the Taft area of Orange County and, thankfully, landed on a patch of soft dirt, the Florida Highway Patrol said Monday.

The crash happened just before noon Monday after witnesses told FHP the father drove around the railroad crossing arm bar at Fourth Street and South Orange Avenue, south of State Road 528, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.

According to FHP Sgt. Kim Montes, the baby’s father, 41-year-old Herode Lubin of Orlando, was driving toward the train tracks as the railroad crossing arm bar came down and the lights were flashing to signal that a train was coming.

Troopers said Lubin drove around the arm bar and onto the tracks, and the train hit the car at 79 mph.

Lubin’s 5-month-old son was ejected from the car, but troopers said the infant landed in an area of soft dirt and suffered only minor injuries. He was taken to Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children in Orlando.

The baby’s mother, 39-year-old Louisena Necy, was also in the car. She was taken to Orlando Regional Medical Center with minor injuries. Troopers said she was not wearing a seat belt.

Lubin, who was not injured, was ticketed for going around a railroad crossing arm bar, and for a child restraint violation.

The train, driven by 63-year-old Preston Jackson, of Jacksonville, was carrying 157 passengers. No one on the train was injured.


Man On Meth Gets Cop Makeover After Dragging Son Into Woods For Exorcism January 25, 2014

Mugshot-Bryan-AdamsA man in Okeechobee County faces numerous charges after he took his son into the woods last week to punish him, believing the 11-year-old boy was possessed by a demon, investigators said.

According to an Okeechobee County Sheriff’s Office report, Bryan Adams told the boy, “You are the demon and you know what I must do with you.”

Investigators said the boy was wearing only pajama pants and a T-shirt.

When deputies tried to arrest Adams, he resisted and fought with them, running deeper into the woods and hiding in the brush, the report stated.

During the struggle, deputies attempted to subdue Adams with a Taser gun and used a K-9 to help apprehend him, the report added.

One of the deputies stated in the report that Adams “showed violent behavior, no compliance or showing of pain and abnormal strength.”

Investigators said his estranged wife told them she had to leave him because of his serious drug abuse and addiction to crystal methamphetamine.

According to the report, Adams showed up at her workplace earlier in the day and demanded the keys to her car, saying he wanted to take possession of the children. She said he was making statements that he was seeing demons.

Adams later admitted in the hospital that he took meth just before deputies arrived, the report stated.

The boy suffered a minor injury to his heel but was otherwise OK.

Adams faces charges that include child abuse, resisting arrest and aggravated battery on a law enforcement officer.


Early Father of the year candidate throws 2-year-old son off a second-floor hotel balcony, then jumps himself January 15, 2014

imagesAuthorities say a father threw his 2-year-old son off a second-floor, hotel balcony in central Florida before jumping himself.

Kissimmee police responded to the Budget Inn around 2 a.m. Tuesday. A Department of Children and Families news release says Juan Pablo Maradiaga will face an attempted murder charge.

DCF says the toddler suffered multiple injuries including several fractures, but is expected to recover.

The department says the 41-year-old Maradiaga was also hospitalized, but his condition was not known.

DCF is in the early stages of its investigation and has not made any changes in the child’s custody. The agency said in a statement that the child will remain safely in the hospital while they complete their assessment.

The agency has not had any prior contact with the child.


Boy gets SCUBA gear for Christmas. Father takes him diving in a 300-foot deep underwater cave system … guess what happens December 27, 2013

Filed under: Bad Father,Bad Luck,Death,Disgusting,Dumb,Sad Story,WTF? — floridaduh @ 4:13 pm

131226122429_spivey-sanchezA father and son who went diving on Christmas Day with new equipment the boy got for a present have been found dead in an underwater cave at a north Florida wildlife refuge.

The Hernando County Sheriff’s Office said Thursday that Holly King called authorities after her fiancé, Darrin Spivey, and his 15-year-old son Dillon Sanchez didn’t return home after a planned dive in the 300-foot deep Eagle Nest Sink cave about an hour and a half north of Tampa.

A sign near the entrance to the cave reads: “Cave diving in this area is extremely dangerous — even life threatening!! Do not dive unless you are a certified cave diver!!”

According to the sheriff’s office, the 35-year-old Spivey was a certified diver; however, he was not a certified cave diver. They say Sanchez was not a certified diver


Ralph Garlick Jr., 53, told deputies he found the baby girl but he was the one trying to get rid of her December 16, 2013

A man who said he discovered a newborn abandoned at a DeBary convenience store was arrested after detectives he was the one trying to find a place to leave the infant.

imagesRalph Garlick Jr., 53, told Volusia County deputy sheriffs he had found the baby girl crying and wrapped in newspaper about 2 a.m. near the front door of the DeBary food mart off U.S. Highway 17-92.

The mother of the child has been located and identified as Garlick’s girlfriend, said Gary Davidson, a Sheriff’s Office spokesman.

Garlick gave law enforcement a false name when he said he found the baby, who still had her umbilical cord attached but appeared to have been tied off with a shoe string.

He said he didn’t know the child. Garlick used his dead brother’s name to identify himself.

But hours earlier, it was his girlfriend who had given birth to the child at an Orange City apartment complex.

Garlick, who is not the baby’s father, told investigators the mother didn’t want to keep the child.

Florida is one of about 34 states, that protects parents from any criminal prosecution if infants younger than 7 days old are relinquished at a designated “safe haven” like a hospital or fire station without harm or abuse.

Typically, they can do so anonymously and by doing so, terminate their parental rights, state law says.

Garlick said he had taken steps to find someone to take the baby but Davidson said they are not sure how far his efforts to locate a safe place went.

The DeBary volunteer fire station is located a little more than a half-mile from the food mart where Garlick left the child. A sheriff’s office sub-station is across the street from the fire station.

A newspaper delivery man called 911 after being flagged down by Garlick. The infant was taken to Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children in Orlando in good condition.

Garlick was charged with knowingly giving false information to law enforcement during an investigation and resisting an officer without violence, both misdemeanors.

He is being taken to the Volusia County Jail on $5,000 bond, Davidson said.

Investigators are interviewing the baby’s mother at Central Florida Regional Hospital in Sanford.

Once the infant is medically-cleared, the Florida Department of Children and Families will take custody of her.

DCF spokeswoman Carrie Hoeppner Proudfit said infants surrendered under the Safe Haven law go to approved adoptive parents through private adoption agencies.

It is unclear whether the infant’s mother will face any charges.



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