The Bizarre World of Florida

Baby choked on cigarette butt while mom was in bar April 1, 2015

A mom was arrested on multiple charges after a 1-year-old choked on a cigarette butt while the woman walked to a nearby bay because she “needed a break,” deputies said.

1427739517578Kendra Page Hampton, 39, of Palm Coast, was charged with felony child neglect, domestic violence and resisting arrest without violence.

According to a Flagler County Sheriff’s Office report, Hampton began consuming alcohol around 1 p.m. Saturday.

Hampton’s boyfriend told deputies he was concerned for the three children in the home, ages 1, 2 and 9, because Hampton has been “drinking alcohol excessively for the past few months.”

Hampton’s boyfriend left the house Saturday and left the woman with the three children.

Two other adults who were at the house heard the 1-year-old choking after the child managed to find smoked cigarettes in an ashtray.

One of the adults was able to remove the cigarette butt from the child’s mouth, deputies said.

According to the report, Hampton left the house and walked to a nearby bar.

When she returned home, Hampton and her boyfriend got into an argument over a cell phone and punched the man in the nose, a report states.

The two adults in the house told deputies they didn’t know the children were left unattended until they heard the 1-year-old choking.

Hampton was taken to the Flagler County Inmate Facility, where she remained Monday afternoon on $5,550 bond.


Jogger wearing earbuds hit, killed by Amtrak train in Polk County March 31, 2015

amtrak-sunset-limitedA man was killed Monday after he was hit by an Amtrak train while jogging alongside train tracks in Polk County while wearing headphones.

The crash happened at noon, according to Carrie E. Horstman, a spokeswoman for the Polk County Sheriff’s Office.

“The conductor blew the train horn several times, to no avail. The jogger continued on as if not hearing the approaching train,” she said in an email. “The train made every effort to alert the man and stop, but struck the man, and he is deceased on-scene.”

The victim was 26-year-old Edwardo Salazar of Frostproof.

An autopsy will be conducted and an investigation is ongoing.

“The conductor and family members confirmed he was wearing earbuds while jogging, which were plugged into his iPod,” Horstman said.

He was hit by the Miami-to-New York Amtrak 98 Silver Meteor after it stopped in Sebring while enroute to Winter Haven.

It was traveling in Frostproof just under the U.S. Highway 27 overpass when the conductor saw an adult male who appeared to be jogging alongside the tracks on the outer wood cross beams, she said.


Drunken mom arrested after young son found wandering on busy road March 25, 2015

A mother was passed out and intoxicated, while her young son was found wandering on State Road 434.

Investigators said Ramona Petty’s 6-year-old son was found more than a mile away on Sheoah Boulevard.

Ramona-Petty-jpgHowever, Petty spoke with Eyewitness News reporter Tim Barber and said there wasno way her son could have walked that far because he gets tired very quickly.

Petty admitted to Barber that she did not remember a lot from Sunday night.

Investigators said a driver spotted Petty’s 6-year-old and called 911.

The officers who rescued the boy said they recognized him from previous cases that involved his mother. The officers said they brought him home, where Petty was drunk and lying in the grass with her 5-year-old daughter.

“My son, he has this little habit of taking off and he runs because behind here we have trees and woods. So, my daughter and I are screaming, ‘Joseph! Joseph!’ Can’t find him, can’t find him,” said Petty.

Petty said she had a few drinks, but denied being drunk. She said she did not believe that her son was capable of walking a mile from their apartment to State Road 434.

“It’s not true, because he would have stopped at the park. He is not like that. It’s not true,” Petty said.

A police document shows that Petty had marks on her face because she “fell down” while officers were trying to arrest her on child abuse charges. She was also charged with resisting arrest.

Court records show that it was not Petty’s first time in trouble. She was arrested on child neglect charges in 2013 for a similar situation. In that case, she pleaded no contest and took anger management, substance abuse and parenting classes.


Izbella Bronson, 2, Killed After Being Ran Over By Her Great-Grandmother March 23, 2015

Izbella Bronson was killed after the A 2-year-old fell out of her great-grandmother’s minivan and was accidentally run over.

drivewayAccording to Hillsborough County deputies, Izbella Bronson was with 69-year-old Alice Barber in a 2008 Kia Sedona, waiting at the end of Barber’s private dirt driveway to pick up the girl’s brothers as they got off their school bus.

As Izbella’s 7-year-old brother ran ahead of the vehicle towards the house, Barber allowed Izbella and her 9-year-old brother to sit on the floor of the minivan with one of the side doors open as she proceeded back up the driveway.

“Sometimes, the kids would sit there and dangle their feet out and she would travel very slowly,” said HCSO spokesperson Larry McKinnon. “Unfortunately, this time on the way back, she obviously hit something that knocked the child out.”

Izbella ended up falling underneath the minivan and was ran over by one of the vehicle’s rear tires, which makes the entire story more horrific when combined with that “very slowly” portion of McKinnon’s statement.

Izbella would die shortly after being flown to Tampa General Hospital. No charges have been filed at this time and it isn’t likely any will be.

“It’s on private property so the car seat and all those rules don’t apply unfortunately,” said McKinnon, who added that he hopes this story serves as a cautionary tale.

“These are potential risks that you take when you put a child that is not secured in a car seat regardless of where it’s at,” said McKinnon. “So it’s a lesson learned, a tragic lesson learned, but hopefully it’s a message we can send out to everyone. That this is what happens when you practice these habits.”

Sometimes I find it hard to believe I made it out of childhood. I still remember riding in the back of my old man’s truck with a group of other teammates as we headed down the highway to our baseball games, or playing the hot lava game with my brother in the back of my mom’s station wagon.


Deputy failed to show up at a 911 call …. Why??? Well …. He was having his lunch March 19, 2015

Sheriff Mike Scott says one of his deputies should be fired after he did not show up at a 911 call.

Officials say a woman is now dead. Neighbors say they found her lying on the ground with ants crawling over her body, her phone in one hand, and medication in the other.

“If what I know is in fact validated and proven through this investigation, my estimation is that it leaves him unfit to wear this uniform and as long as I’m the sheriff, he’ll not ever wear it again,” said Scott.

Sources tell WINK News that Friday afternoon, just after 1 p.m., someone called 911 from a house near Ortiz Avenue. Nobody spoke on the other end of the line.

“We know that we dispatched a 911 call, we know that it was a valid call,” said Scott.

Operators stayed on the line, and a deputy  named Yvan Fernandez was dispatched.

Fernandez said he was on his way. But Scott says that a preliminary investigation shows Deputy Fernandez did not go, and it appears that instead, he may have gone to lunch.

“I need to confirm whether or not whether he was physically at the restaurant when the call came to him or whether he had not yet made it to the restaurant and was still en route,” said Scott.

Sources tell WINK News that about 30 minutes into the call, another deputy was dispatched instead. Before any help arrived, family friends found a woman lying on the ground.

“He called me back around 1:41 and said ‘Gwen is laying out in the yard, she has the house phone in one hand and her pills in the other hand and she’s not moving,’” said Cykecya Russ.

Russ says 47-year-old Gwen Minis, was a family friend who had just gotten out of the hospital after having a heart attack. Her brother found her lying face down next to the driveway.

Exact details are unclear because it’s still so early in the sheriff’s internal investigation. However, sources tell WINK News it was almost an hour before a deputy finally arrived.

“Immediately upon learning of this, I took his gun, his badge and his vehicle and put him on what we call administrative leave with pay,” said Scott.


Hey, my mom Tased me all the time. And I’m a better man for it March 17, 2015

A Deltona woman was arrested and accused of torturing two children by using a stun gun to punish them for stealing from a store, investigating Volusia deputies said.

momMarie Beauvais, 37, was charged with two counts of aggravated child abuse, her arrest report shows.

Beauvais is out of the Volusia County Branch Jail on $2,000 bail, according to court records.

Deputies said they learned of the case when they went to the Phonetia Drive home Thursday to help a Department of Children & Families investigator.

The DCF investigator said she was investigating an incident that occurred Oct. 20, reports said.

Two girls, ages 16 and 14, told deputies they stole from the Wal-mart in Deltona in October and Beauvais picked them up and brought them home. Once home, Beauvais repeatedly stunned the girls, about 10 to 15 times in their right arms, investigators said.

Deputies saw multiple burn marks on the shoulder of one girl consistent with being stunned with the electric device and both girls had burn marks on their right arms, a report details.

The girls said Beauvais also used a belt on them, deputies said.

The girls did not want to press charges against Beauvais. And one girl said she deserved the punishment for the retail theft she committed, deputies said.

Deputies arrested Beauvais after determining that she “did willfully torture and maliciously” punish the girls, “while carelessly using a Taser or stun gun” causing the children to suffer permanent disfigurement, a report states.


Woman faked cancer; collected money for her care

A 36-year-old woman is accused of pretending to have late-stage breast cancer and asking for money, leading to a fundraising effort that collected more than $4,400 for her care.
Kelly Johanneson, who lives in the town of Hernando in Citrus County, has been charged with organized fraud, a third-degree felony.
The Citrus County Sheriff’s Office says the case is a first for its agency.
Johanneson disappeared for about a month in late 2013, deputies said, returning to tell people close to her that she had Stage IV breast cancer and had been at Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa for testing.
She asked relatives to help pay for doctor appointments, deputies said, specifically requesting cash. She received hundreds in donations from friends and family. A Go Fund Me webpage, KellysHope, raised at least $4,400 for her.
Among other events, the Citrus County Airboat Alliance held a large fundraiser for her, deputies said.
Deputies received a complaint about her in September and learned that no one close to Johanneson had been to the doctor with her or had proof that her claims of having cancer were true.
Deputies found that Moffitt Cancer Center had never treated her, and that she had fraudulent paperwork from the center.
An arrest warrant was issued for Johanneson after the case was brought to the State Attorney’s Office.


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