floridaduh

The Bizarre World of Florida

Confused man sets himself on fire attempting to burn down an occupied home July 28, 2014

A group of South Daytona residents are lucky to be alive after an arsonist lit part of their apartment complex on fire, while residents were home.

News 13 spoke with the woman the arsonist was talking to as he was dousing the complex with gasoline.

Kathy Bailey’s charred front door is being replaced after it was set on fire Saturday morning at the Spanish Villa apartment complex in South Daytona.

downloadBut she and her granddaughter are lucky to be alive after police say Arthur Avery did not find who he was looking for, a man by the name of Ted; a man Bailey says she’s never heard of, which was a response Avery did not like.

“And he just started splashing the gasoline on it. And I said my granddaughter’s in there. And he said you better get her. So I ran in and my other girlfriend who came in from out of town said there’s a child in there. He said I don’t give a damn,” said Bailey.

A grandmother’s instinct kicked in and she ran inside for her granddaughter.

“Grabbed her and went out the back door. Did you get any gasoline on you? Yeah, I did, I was just praying he didn’t light that fire before I could get out of there,” added Kathy Bailey.

The fire burned two front doors, and a mattress, before working its way up higher.

Residents in this apartment complex tell me the flames came all the way to the second floor. One homeowner even saw those flames through the peep hole right here on the second floor.

“It looked like hell just exploded,” said resident Lonna Sampson.

Lonna Sampson is thankful South Daytona firefighters arrived so quickly to put the fire out because her son had no way out the back door of the second story apartment.

“Someone could have burned us all, all of us to death,” added Sampson.

Avery himself is being treated for burns. Witnesses told police then when Avery knelt down to light the fire, he caught fire himself.

Police say Avery rolled on the ground, an act which may have put that fire out, but led to his arrest because he dropped a set of keys and his wallet.

Detectives say Avery was driven by friends to a hospital in St, John’s county but was transferred to Shand’s hospital where he is being treated for his burns.

Meanwhile, Bailey is glad Avery was arrested, but too nervous to return to her apartment.

“I was Petrified. [Probably] the worst thing could ever happen to me cause I’m afraid of fire,” said Bailey.

 

Girl, 4, and her toddler brother found wandering alone near a busy road…and the parents ‘can’t see what the fuss is about’ July 26, 2014

A woman discovered two children near a daycare center’s dumpster on Tuesday – and their father was nowhere to be found.

article-2706043-1FFB5F8B00000578-80_634x692Veena Iyer told Boca Raton officers she saw the boy, 1, and girl, 4, walking around Tuesday afternoon before she contacted authorities, according to an affidavit obtained by MailOnline.

‘It should be noted this area is next to a public roadway,’ the affidavit said.

Iyer told police the children took her to their family’s home – but their parents were not there.

‘They were in their pajamas, no shoes, nothing, seemed very tired and hungry,’ Iyer told WPBF. ‘I said, “Who is watching you?” and [the girl] said, “Nobody.” I asked her, ‘Where is your dad?’ She said, “I don’t know. He took my mom to work.”‘

Father Stanley Fitzpatrick, 41,  was eventually found by Boca Raton police officers and told them he took his wife to a bus stop before he stopped to talk with a friend, according to the affidavit.

The children’s mother told a WPBF crew of the situation ‘It’s not really that serious. ‘The cameraman [is] supposed to come out if the child drowns, if the child was severe hurt. They were not hurt. They did not drown.’

The affidavit revealed the family’s home was in ‘substandard conditions.’

‘[Officers] observed moldy food in the refrigerator, the dishwasher left open with dishes and knives in it, and there were no locks on the cabinets,’ it said.

Officers also reportedly only found 4 diapers in the home and discovered the children slept on a mattress together on the floor.

It also alleged that the 1-year-old boy ‘had such bad diaper rash that he was flinching when officers changed his diaper.’

Fitzpatrick was arrested on two counts of child neglect, police said.

 

Man Slit Girl’s Throat After She Convinced Mom To Break Up With Him July 25, 2014

A South Florida man accused of slashing the throat of an 11-year-old girl after the child allegedly convinced her mother to break up with him is scheduled to appear in bond court Tuesday.

Miguel-Ruiz-LoboOn Monday, City of Miami Police announced they had arrested 42-year-old Miguel Ruiz Lobo, the former-live-in boyfriend of Little Havana resident Amauria Alvarenga, after he allegedly killed her daughter, Marta Guzman, and attempted to make it look like a suicide.

On June 22, City of Miami Police responded to reports of an 11-year-old-girl found with her neck slashed at 834 N.W. Fourth St. Guzman was transported to the hospital but would not survive.

The death was originally believed to be a suicide since the young girl had a history of cutting. However, autopsy results revealed the manner of death was homicide.

Speaking with reporters Monday evening, Alvarenga said Ruiz never abused her daughter physically. Instead, she said, the abuse was more emotional in nature, and the sixth-grader convinced her to end her relationship with the suspect.

Friends consoled a tearful Alvarenga as she sat in her apartment and wiped away her tears. Not far from her, the walls of Marta Guzman’s bedroom were peppered with the straight-A student’s framed achievement certificates.

Alvarenga, who has been separated from husband Jose Guzman for five years, said she is grateful the man police said is responsible for her daughter’s murder has been apprehended. “I feel better that they arrested him because that’s what I needed,” she said through a translator. “From the moment I found her, I never thought she committed suicide because I know my daughter.”

Ruiz stated he had no contact with the victim in over a week, but a neighbor’s surveillance camera showed Ruiz entering the victim’s residence and leaving 32 minutes later. In the video, no one else is seen entering the apartment until the girl’s mother arrives and discovers the victim at around 2:28 p.m.

During the investigation, police also noted Ruiz had visible, fresh scratches on his arms and face. Police then submitted Ruiz’s DNA swabs along with the victim’s fingernail scrapings to a lab for testing. Results showed the DNA from the victim’s fingernail scrapings matched Ruiz’s DNA.

Police said Ruiz attempted to use the girl’s history of self-mutilating as a cover up for the murder. They also said he was not allowed at the girl’s residence but used a key to enter the apartment and slit the child’s throat as revenge after she allegedly convinced her mother to break up with him. The mother immediately believed Ruiz was responsible for the girl’s death.

Miami Police Chief Manuel Orosa said, “It all stems from the little girl and her mother did not get along with Mr. Ruiz, who was the boyfriend of the mother, and eventually the little girl convinced mom to break up with Mr. Ruiz. Mr. Ruiz was not happy about it. He returned to the house when the girl was alone. He used a key that he knew the whereabouts of the key, and we believe he entered and killed the young lady.”

Police said Marta Guzman fought back, but was unsuccessful with her assailant standing 6 feet 4 inches tall and weighing 210 pounds. “It’s unspeakable,” said Orosa. “We believe that he subdued her quickly, and during that time is when she was able to get in a few scratches on his face and on his arms. He’s such a huge monster of a man that could control her easily, and eventually he did and killed her. There were other signals of multiple puncture wounds that she had. He knew that she had cut herself previously.”

Alvarenga said she knew in her heart her ex- was the killer. She just needed investigators to prove it.

Alvarenga added her daughter’s death is not only a huge loss for her family, but for the community where she lives, many of whom are from Honduras. “I would have given my life for her,” she said.

The 11-year-old’s father said he is devastated. “It’s not easy. I cry every night, every day, anytime,” said Jose Guzman, who added he wants the maximum sentence handed down to Ruiz.

Ruiz has been charged with first-degree murder.

 

Man critically injured after being run over by street sweeper … he was the driver July 23, 2014

Filed under: Bad Luck,Bizzarre,Scary,WTF? — floridaduh @ 1:41 pm

A worker was seriously injured Tuesday morning in St. Petersburg after being run over by a street sweeper he was operating.

Street-sweeper-722According to St. Petersburg police, 54-year-old Mark John Tucker, of Tarpon Springs, suffered upper torso injuries in the accident at Jefferson Circle North and Fourth Street North. The accident happened just after 8 a.m. as the sweeper operator was attempting to get on the vehicle, police say.

The vehicle began to move as the man attempted to climb on, causing him to fall. The vehicle continued moving and ran over the man’s upper body.

Tucker was rushed to Bayfront Health St. Petersburg with what appeared to be critical injuries, according to police.

Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) is investigating the accident.

 

Man Caught In The Act Of Molesting Child Gets Severe Beatdown July 21, 2014

A father who walked in on a man allegedly sexually assaulting his 11-year-old son beat the man to a pulp before calling police to say they could come collect him from a ‘bloody puddle’ on his floor.

Raymond-FrolanderThe 35-year-old man, who has not been identified, told a 911 dispatcher in the early hours of Friday: ‘I just walked in on a grown man molesting [name redacted]. And I got him in a bloody puddle for you right now, officer.’

Police arrived at the Daytona Beach home in Florida to find Raymond Frolander, 18, unconscious.

When the 911 responder asked the father if any weapons were involved, he said: ‘My foot and my fist’.

‘He is nice and knocked out on the floor for you, I dragged him into the living room,’ the father said. ‘Send an ambulance. He is going to need one.’

The dispatcher asked: ‘Is he still unconscious?’ to which the father responds: ‘Yes… I hit hard, sir.’

He said that Frolander was a ‘damn lucky boy that I love my God’.

The father added: ‘He stood up and his pants were around his ankles and nothing else needed to be said. I did whatever I got a right to do except I didn’t kill him.’

The father had left his home around 1am to pick up some food and when he returned, heard a strange noise coming from the bedroom, police said.

He pushed open the door and allegedly found Frolander with his pants down performing a sex act on the child.

The boy told investigators he had been playing video games with friends but when they left, Frolander took him to a back room and pulled down his pants. He also said Frolander had been abusing him for three years.

Daytona Beach police chief Michael Chitwood told MailOnline today that Frolander had a close family connection to the alleged victim.

The chief said the young boy was intimidated and told by Frolander that terrible things would happen if he revealed the abuse.

Chief Chitwood said: ‘He’s 11 years old, he should be running around outside and playing video games, not dealing with something like this.’

He earlier told the Daytona Beach News-Journal that the father was ‘just acting like a dad’.

The father was not charged in the suspect’s beating, police spokesman Jimmie Flynt said.

Frolander was taken to Halifax Heath Medical Center where he was treated for his injuries.

The arrest affidavit said that Frolander admitted the abuse.

The teen was charged with sexual battery on a child under 12 and is being held without bail. It was not known whether he’s hired a lawyer.

 

The ‘truth’ about Florida amusement parks

Filed under: Interesting,Scary,WTF? — floridaduh @ 1:32 pm

A man whose fingertips were severed aboard Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean this month made international news. Three months before that, it turns out, a 12-year-old boy lacerated four fingers on the same ride.

disney-worldThe incident involving the boy was one of a dozen significant injuries Walt Disney World reported to the state last week for the second quarter of 2014. Universal Orlando reported four injuries during the April-through-June time period.

Disney would not provide further details.

Five of Disney’s incidents, including the one involving the 12-year-old boy, were at the Magic Kingdom. Disney also reported that an 8-year-old girl briefly lost consciousness on Magic Carpets of Aladdin; a 64-year-old woman fell and fractured her fibula while exiting a vehicle at Tomorrowland Indy Speedway; a 68-year-old man fell exiting the Astro Orbiter and developed a blood clot in his leg; and a 72-year-old woman with a pre-existing condition briefly lost consciousness and fell after leaving Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.

Three Disney injuries stemmed from Epcot’s Mission: SPACE. Disney reported a 70-year-old woman complained of chest pain; a 58-year-old man with a pre-existing condition felt tightness in his chest and nausea; and a 54-year-old woman complained of motion sickness.

Also at Epcot, a 62-year-old woman fell on the walkway and injured her knee at the Seas with Nemo & Friends and a 51-year-old woman experienced nausea, dizziness and shortness of breath on Expedition Everest-Legend of the Forbidden Mountain.

In other Disney areas, a 68-year-old woman with a pre-existing condition felt tightness in her chest on Kilimanjaro Safari at Animal Kingdom, and a 44-year-old man fractured his leg on Mayday Falls at Typhoon Lagoon.

At Universal, a 43-year-old woman complained of head and neck pain on Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey. A 61-year-old man felt weak after E.T. Adventure. A 15-year-old boy had “lowered level consciousness” on Revenge of the Mummy and an 18-year-old man experienced chest pain on the ride.

It was the fourth straight quarter in which Disney and Universal Orlando were the only parks to report significant injuries. SeaWorld, Wet ‘n Wild, Busch Gardens and Legoland reported no injuries.

The voluntary reports are part of an agreement the theme parks have struck with the state, which has exempted them from public ride-safety regulation. The parks are required to report injuries that occur on a ride and result in an immediate hospital stay of more than 24 hours.

SeaWorld retooling global tours

SeaWorld is postponing an “Excursions” global tour program it was about to start.

There were no bookings for upcoming trips to Alaska and Africa with animal experts from its parks as guides.

SeaWorld expects to relaunch the program next month with a new name, website and brochure. It is planning an October trip to Churchill, Canada.

Mall developer to unveil plans

Developer Abdul Mathin says he will hold a press conference early next month to discuss his plans for a massive new mall and hotel he has proposed for northern end of International Drive.

The plan, called the iSquare Mall & Hotel, got approval last week from Orlando’s planning board, after Mathin agreed to trim the height of the structure from 31 to 26 stories and reduce the total number of rooms from more than 1,200 rooms to more than 700. The proposal has yet to go before the Orlando City Council.

Mathin has proposed a multilevel shopping mall and a luxury hotel that, if built, would instantly become a landmark on North I-Drive. It would include meeting space, an ice-skating rink, a food court and restaurants. Mathin has said the project would cost $300 million to $400 million and would cater to wealthy travelers. The project would replace the International Shoppes strip mall a the southeast corner of I-Drive and Kirkman Road. Mathin’s company owns that property.

Mathin said the money is place to move forward but that he may take on investors. Mathin heads the BlackMINE Group, an international real-estate development and investment firm.

Iger chosen CEO of the year

Chief Executive magazine last week named Bob Iger of The Walt Disney Co. as 2014’s CEO of the year.

The sixth CEO in Disney’s history, Iger, “transformed the organization into a profit-making powerhouse,” the magazine said in a press release.

 

Rest area that was once famous for co-ed hookers and drugs now known for its poisonous snakes July 20, 2014

Filed under: Scary,Stupid,Weird,WTF? — floridaduh @ 3:54 pm

Blog-20100710-BewareOfSnakesIf you’re planning on driving on Interstate 75 and the urge to stop at a rest area hits you, a sign at one rest area near Gainesville is now urging motorists to beware of poisonous snakes. The sign is becoming a tourist attraction of its own.

The rest area on I-75 is like no other in the state; it sits atop a hill overlooking one of the most wild areas in Florida — Payne’s Prairie.

Earlier this year, bright yellow signs went up warning of poisonous snakes.

“They want to know what kind of snakes we have. I say, ‘You’re in Florida. You got all kinds of snakes,'” said rest area crew member Katie Mijares.

Snakes used to be a major problem in the area.

“I have a friend that’s sacred of snakes and I thought she’d get a kick out of it,” said motorist Rachel Manning while taking a photo. She said she isn’t too scared of them. “I know that they don’t like noise and my kids are noisy.”

It’s also the only rest area to sport a 325 foot long walkway to overlook the prairie, designed, as you might guess, to look like a snake.

Snake warning signs aren’t the only unique thing about the rest area. It was once a hotbed of illegal drug trafficking. Another time, a major prostitution ring involving University of Florida co-eds was busted working out of here.

Drugs and prostitution are no longer a problem there, but the bright yellow sign warning of snakes can be a bit unnerving for some.

The message to motorists: You never know what you’ll find at the rest area.

 

A ‘testicle-eating’ fish found in Florida waters? July 18, 2014

Filed under: Bizzarre,Disgusting,OK Then .....,Scary,Unusual,Weird,WTF? — floridaduh @ 1:23 pm

A local angler has quite the fish tale to tell. He says he recently caught a pacu on the Suncoast — a member of the piranha family with a very unsettling reputation.

53c6973b8d130.preview-300The name of Tom Rigby’s boat is Asleep at the Reel. About a month ago, Rigby was fishing Phillippi Creek with a shrimp and was wide awake when his line took off.

“I had the drag set pretty tight, and it’s running with it. My first thought was a jack because they fight like crazy.”

After a long fight, he brought the fish aboard the boat. “I got out my fish ID chart and go through all of the species. I can’t see anything that looks like the species.”

He snapped a quick photo of the fish and released it back into the water.

53c697a2cd302.preview-300He sent his picture of the fish to Mote Marine. They quickly identify it as a pacu, a freshwater species native to South America — and related to the piranha.

“I’m looking at all of the teeth, saying this thing can do some serious damage to another fish or something.”

That something will make men everywhere cringe. “I found out it has a reputation for going after men’s testicles. I was just worried about it biting my finger.”

That reputation has been investigated for years, even by Animal Planet’s extreme angler Jeremy Wade — the host of the hit show River Monsters.

There have never been any confirmed cases of the pacu’s unusual appetite.

For Rigby, he has an appetite for catching another one — this time keeping it. “It was quite an adventure; pretty cool to catch and it’s out there somewhere still looking for lunch.”

The mystery remains: how did this fish end up here? The likely answer is that at one time it was someone’s pet that outgrew its aquarium and was released into area waters.

Pacu
 

Man choked, robbed girlfriend after she invited him to party July 16, 2014

 A man is in custody after deputies said he became enraged when his girlfriend invited him to a party, choked and robbed her before he robbed another man who tried to intervene early Tuesday.

sfl-flduh-chocked-girlfriend-party-20140715-001The Manatee County Sheriff’s Office said Chadwick Bush, 21, was sleeping on a bed at the Motel 6 at 660 67th St. Cir. E. when his 23-year-old girlfriend asked if he wanted to go to a party at about 4:30 a.m. Tuesday.

Bush allegedly became enraged and pulled his girlfriend down by her hair and began to choke her and punch her in the ribs.

Another woman in the room told Bush she was calling law enforcement, but Bush did not stop. While on top of his girlfriend, he stole $40 from her front pocket.

The other woman called for her boyfriend, who was outside of the room.

The other man tried to get Bush off of Bush’s girlfriend by striking him in the side. Bush got off of his girlfriend and turned toward the other man, who told him deputies were called.

Bush then grabbed the other man’s cellphone and ran away from the area with his backpack.

Deputies saw Bush behind the nearby Comfort Inn. He ran after deputies saw him and told him to get down.

A deputy deployed a stun gun and struck Bush, who kept running.

A dog eventually found Bush hiding behind a trash bin behind iStorage, where he was taken into custody without incident.

Bush was charged with domestic battery with strangulation, strong-arm robbery and grand theft.

 

Surprise only 15 percent of this Florida town’s police force were also members of the KKK July 15, 2014

kkkPolice morale in Fruitland Park, Florida has been shaken after a deputy chief and officer resigned when the Federal Bureau of Investigations identified them as members of the Ku Klux Klan.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement presented Chief Terry Isaacs with copies of a confidential FBI report last week that allegedly identified Deputy Chief David Borst and Officer George Hunnewell as members of the KKK.

Earlier this year, a Florida Klan leader boasted to WFTV 9 that the organization has “police officers, paramedics, judges…everywhere.”

However, Chief Isaacs would only tell reporters for the Orlando Sentinel that the pair belonged to a “subversive organization,” because he did not believe he was authorized to release the results of the report.

“It’s a tough situation. He was my assistant,” he said, adding that he never witnessed any behavior that would lead him to believe former Deputy Chief Borst was in the KKK. “But I’ve read the report, and it’s convincing.”

Chief Deputy State Attorney Ric Ridgway — from whom Isaacs sought counsel concerning the FBI’s report — told the Orlando Sentinel that “it’s not a crime to be a member of the KKK, even if you are the deputy chief. It’s not a crime to be stupid. It’s not a crime to hate people. It may be despicable, it may be immoral, but it’s not a crime.”

The loss of two officers is significant for a town that only employs 13 full-time cops. “They’re a good group of people,” Isaacs said. “The last thing I was expecting to hear in the year 2014 was for a professional law-enforcement officer to be a member of a subversive organization.”

In 2009, however, another Fruitland Park officer, James Elkins, resigned after pictures emerged online of him wearing a Klan hood and robe. Elkins initially claimed that he was not involved with the organization, but eventually admitted that he was the “district Kleage,” or local recruiter, for the National Aryan Knights of the Ku Klux Klan.

 

 
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