Marilyn M. Aciego

Publisher Marilyn M. Aciego was born and raised in Lake County and is a graduate of Umatilla High School and Lake-Sumter State College. She began her journalism career at LSSC and in 2023 she was honored with LSSC’s Distinguished Alumni Professional Achievement Award. She began working at the Daily Commercial while she was in college and continued her career there as a reporter after she graduated. In her 20+ year-career, she covered many of the area’s top stories including the disappearance of Trenton Duckett, the death of beloved Sheriff Chris Daniels, both in 2006 and an exclusive interview with then-Eustis Police Capt. Gary Winheim, who was ambushed and shot by a wanted felon in 2019. In addition to Inside Lake, Marilyn is the single mom of a teenaged son and the Florida Bureau Chief for an international media organization.

Deputies: Eustis Middle Teacher Arrested for Possessing Child Porn a “Serious Risk to the Community” if Released from Jail

MARION COUNTY, Fla.— The Marion County Sheriff’s Office released details in the arrest of a Eustis Middle School teacher earlier this week.

On Friday, MCSO announced the arrests of six males for possessing child sexual abuse materials (CSAM) including a Eustis Middle School teacher who was also a volleyball coach at the school. Michael “Mr. K” Kozierowski, 58, of Ocklawaha, is facing 10 counts of possession of child pornography and could face more charges if additional images or videos are found on any of his electronic devices, MCSO said in a press release. Eustis Police Department was notified of Kozierowski’s arrest and Lake County Schools notified parents by email and phone Wednesday afternoon.

According to Kozierowski’s arrest affidavit, when law enforcement officers arrived at his home and requested to view his electronic devices, he “immediately became visibly nervous” and said he was a teacher at Eustis Middle School and he would not allow law enforcement to look at his devices without a lawyer present. Authorities secured a search warrant and found 10 video files depicting prepubescent females in various sex acts. Many of the files had been downloaded recently and viewed as recently as Saturday.

A large number of compressed files were also found and are expected to contain more CSAM, and the arresting detective requested Kozierowski be held on no bond. The request was granted and Kozierowski is being held in the Marion County Jail.

“Much of the CSAM he possessed and viewed depicted children that are around the same age of the children he daily has care, custody and control over. The defendant’s release poses serious risk to the community due to his access to children and sexual attraction to them,” a detective noted in the affidavit.

MCSO, along with Ocala Police Department and Homeland Security Investigations concluded the operation this week after receiving tips from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC.) Authorities searched electronic devices tied to the six males and each male was found to be in possession of CSAM, according to MCSO.

In addition to Kozierowski, five more males were also arrested:

  • Daniel Carroll, 31, was arrested for 22 counts of possession of child pornography
  • Matthew Davidson, 17, was arrested for six counts of possession of child pornography
  • Dominik Robinson, 20, was arrested for seven counts of possession of child pornography. Unlawful use of a two-way communication device and resisting arrest without violence
  • Christopher Carley 19,was arrested for  20 counts of possession of child pornography
  • Cameron Rios, 27, was arrested for seven counts of possession of child pornography, unlawful use of a two-way communication device.

Previous story: Eustis Middle Teacher Arrested on Child Porn Charges, Details Remain Unknown – Inside Lake


Eustis Woman Claims Million-Dollar Lottery Prize

EUSTIS, Fla.—A Eustis woman has claimed a $1 million prize from the Florida Lottery, it announced Thursday.

Shelby Abbott, 29, purchased her winning $1,000,000 A YEAR FOR LIFE $50 ticket from Circle K, 2754 East Orange Ave., Eustis and chose to take her winnings in a lump sum of $640,000, the Florida Lottery said.  The store will receive a $2,000 bonus commission for selling the ticket.

This is at least the fifth million-dollar winning ticket purchased in Lake County this year.

Previous stories: Lottery Lucky Streak Continues in Lake County – Inside Lake

Lucky Streak: For the Third Month in a Row, Lake County Resident Claims $1 Million Lottery Prize – Inside Lake

Another $1 Million Scratch-Off Ticket Sold in Lake County – Inside Lake

$1 Million Winning Scratch-Off Ticket Purchased in Leesburg – Inside Lake

Eustis Police Investigating After Argument Leads to Gunfire

EUSTIS, Fla.—Eustis Police Department is investigating an argument that led to shots being fired Thursday afternoon.

Details were limited early Thursday evening as EPD was still on scene investigating the incident that occurred shortly after 4:30 p.m. at Little Oaks Apartments, 300 West Atwater Avenue. EPD Capt. Jon Fahning said two male neighbors got into an unknown argument and one male pulled out a gun and threatened the other male. The second male then pulled out his own gun and fired an unknown number of rounds. No one was injured, Fahning said.

The two males’ names were not available at press time and the investigation is ongoing.

Eustis Middle Teacher Arrested on Child Porn Charges, Details Remain Unknown

MARION COUNTY, Fla.—A Eustis Middle School teacher has been arrested on child pornography charges, but authorities are not releasing any details.

Michael “Mr. K” Kozierowski, an ESE teacher, was arrested Wednesday “on multiple charges of possession, control and viewing depiction of child sexual conduct,” Lake County Schools stated in an email sent to parents at 4:15 p.m. Wednesday.

A screenshot of an alert sent to Eustis Middle School parents Wednesday.

Sources told Inside Lake Kozierowski was arrested in Marion County, but details about the arrest were not available at press time. “Michael Kozierowski was arrested as part of an ongoing investigation. Therefore, we are unable to release further information, an arrest affidavit, or a mugshot at this time,” a spokesperson for the Marion County Sheriff’s Office stated to Inside Lake in an email.

Kozierowski was the head volleyball coach at EMS in 2022, according to an EMS social media post, and parents have told Inside Lake he was the assistant volleyball coach during the current school year.

Kozierowski is the second EMS employee arrested in just a week. Inside Lake was the first to report on the arrest of Ute Galloway, 61. Galloway was arrested Nov. 29 after a father reported she slapped his 14-year-old son across the face before Thanksgiving break and video from the media center clearly showed the slap, according to an arrest affidavit.

Previous story: Eustis Middle Teacher’s Assistant Arrested for Slapping Student Across the Face because she was “Frustrated.” – Inside Lake

Umatilla Man Killed in CR 452 Crash Tuesday

LEESBURG, Fla.—A Umatilla motorcyclist was killed Tuesday when a sedan made a left turn and collided with him, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.

A 2013 Hyundai Sonata, being driven by a 91-year-old Apopka man, was eastbound on County Road 452, in the left turn lane, at Sandpiper Drive, near Leesburg, shortly before noon when it made a left turn in the direct path of a 2002 Kawasaki motorcycle being ridden by a 56-year-old Umatilla man, FHP Trooper Migdalisis Garcia said in a press release.

The Umatilla man was transported to AdventHealth Waterman in Tavares, where he was pronounced deceased, Garcia said. The Apopka man and his passenger, a 76-year-old woman, also of Apopka, were not injured and remained on scene. The crash closed County Road 452 for more than four hours and reopened around 4 p.m. Tuesday.

Motorcycle Fatality Shuts Down CR 452 Near Leesburg Tuesday

Update: Umatilla Man Killed in CR 452 Crash Tuesday – Inside Lake

LEESBURG, Fla.—The Florida Highway Patrol is investigating a crash that killed a motorcyclist late Tuesday morning near Leesburg and shut down County Road 452.

The crash occurred on County Road 452 near Sandpiper Drive, shortly before noon, and involved a Hyundai Sonata and a 2002 Kawasaki motorcycle, FHP Trooper Migdalisis Garcia said in an email.  The driver and the passenger in the Sonata were not injured and the motorcyclist was transported to AdventHealth Waterman in Tavares and pronounced deceased.

County Road 452 remained closed at press time.

Reward Offered for Information Leading to the Whereabouts of Missing Mount Dora Mother

MOUNT DORA, Fla.—A reward is now being offered for information leading to the whereabouts of missing mother Nicole Baldwin.

Mount Dora Police Department announced the reward of up to $5,000 on its social media pages Tuesday morning; Baldwin, 41, was reported missing Nov. 5 and was last seen Nov. 2 at her home on Strathmore Circle in Lancaster at Loch Leven in Mount Dora. MDPD detectives have remained guarded about their investigation into the disappearance of the mom of three, but there has been a flurry of law enforcement activity at the home since Nov. 28. MDPD detectives, uniformed officers and Lake County Sheriff’s Office crime scene investigators have been at the home several times removing items and multiple sources have told Inside Lake vehicles and electronics have also been taken as possible evidence in the case. The Baldwin family has since moved out of the home, because their lease was up, Baldwin’s oldest daughter, Alisha told Inside Lake.

Two community searches, spearheaded by Terri Rogers, have been conducted since Baldwin went missing, but neither search turned up anything, Rogers told Inside Lake. The most recent search was Sunday afternoon, followed by a candlelight vigil. Only Inside Lake has been covering the case for nearly a month and was the first to interview Alisha nearly a month ago. Alisha attended both searches and the vigil Sunday and told Inside Lake she just wants her mom home.

Alisha Baldwin, right, preparing candles for a vigil held for her mother, Nicole Baldwin, 41, Sunday. Baldwin has been missing since Nov. 2. PHOTO: Marilyn M. Aciego/Inside Lake

Baldwin, 41, is considered “missing endangered” and is described as a white female, 5 feet, 5 inches tall, 135 pounds, with brown and (dyed) blonde hair, and hazel eyes. If you have information on Baldwin’s disappearance, call Crimeline at 1-800-423-TIPS. Crimeline callers can remain anonymous and may be eligible for the reward.

Previous stories: Community Search and Vigil Planned for Mount Dora Mom Missing a Month – Inside Lake

Major Law Enforcement Activity at Mount Dora Home of Missing Mom

3 Weeks and Still No Sign of Missing Mom

Mount Dora Woman Missing a Week, Daughter Wants Answers


Sunday Afternoon Crash Kills Leesburg Man, 94

LEESBURG, Fla.—A 94-year-old Leesburg man was killed Sunday afternoon when the SUV he was driving was struck by a car that ran a traffic light, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.

The man was driving a 2015 Subaru Forester eastbound on Plantation Boulevard and was attempting to make a left turn on U.S. Highway 27 when he collided with a 2017 Chevrolet Malibu that was “unable to stop in time for the traffic signal,” around 4:15 p.m., Trooper Migdalisis Garcia said in a press release.

The front of the Malibu struck the left side of the Forester and injured both drivers. The Malibu driver, a 32-year-old Leesburg man, was taken to UF Health Leesburg Hospital with non-life-threatening injuries and the driver of the Forester was transported to South Lake Hospital-Blue Cedar, where he later died from his injuries, Garcia said.

The crash remains under investigation.

Community Search and Vigil Planned for Mount Dora Mom Missing a Month

MOUNT DORA, Fla.—Saturday marks one month since anyone has seen missing Mount Dora mom Nicole Baldwin and a community search and candlelight vigil are planned for Sunday.

Baldwin was last seen Nov. 2 at her home on Strathmore Circle in Mount Dora after celebrating her oldest daughter Alisha’s 20th birthday, Alisha told Inside Lake last month.  Alisha was on the scene Tuesday as investigators searched the home nearly all day and removed what may be evidence in the disappearance of the mother of three.

Sources told Inside Lake Mount Dora Police Department towed Baldwin’s husband’s car Tuesday as possible evidence, and took electronics, including multiple cell phones before the Baldwin family moved out of the home on Strathmore Circle in Lancaster at Loch Leven this week, and investigators were back at the home Friday after the family moved out.

On Friday, investigators with Mount Dora Police Department were back at the home where Nicole Baldwin was last seen. COURTESY PHOTO

Tipsters have reached out to Inside Lake with theories and suspicions about people close to Baldwin and Inside Lake asked MDPD about some of the tips, but MDPD has remained tight-lipped and not released many details, citing an “active and ongoing investigation.”

MDPD began investigating Baldwin’s disappearance Nov. 5 when she was reported missing and multiple personal items of Baldwin’s were left at the home when she disappeared, including her phone, Apple watch, purse, debit card and all her shoes and she did not have her car, Alisha told Inside Lake earlier this month. A man Baldwin was dating was in possession of her car after her disappearance and he brought the white Chevy Cruze back to Alisha when she demanded he return it, Alisha said. Last month, the Cruze was seen in the driveway of the home on Strathmore Circle with what appeared to be evidence tape on the trunk and doors.

There has been no activity on Baldwin’s social media accounts and loved ones have not heard from her since Nov. 2.

A Facebook group, Help Find Nicole Baldwin started by Terri Rogers has grown to more than 400 members and Rogers is organizing the search and candlelight vigil planned for Sunday. Rogers never met Baldwin but was compelled to help as she continues to agonize with unanswered questions about the disappearance of her niece, Tonya Lee Whipp in Polk County. Whipp, 38, was last seen in Auburndale sometime between May 28 and June 1, but she was not reported missing until June 29, according to Auburndale Police Department.

A community search organized by Rogers is planned for 2 p.m. Sunday and searchers are being asked to meet at La Gracia Baptist Church, 19650 State Road 44, Eustis. Participants may encounter rough terrain and should wear appropriate clothing and shoes to join in the search. A candlelight vigil is scheduled to be held following the search, and Rogers has been working all week gathering milk jugs that will hold candles and feature a photo of Nicole. She plans on using the jugs to line the sidewalks leading to the Strathmore Circle home to symbolize lighting a path, “so she can find her way home,” Rogers told Inside Lake.

Baldwin, 41, is considered “missing endangered” and is described as a white female, 5 feet, 5 inches tall, 135 pounds, with brown and (dyed) blonde hair, and hazel eyes. If you have information on Baldwin’s disappearance, call MDPD at 352-735-7130.

Previous stories: Major Law Enforcement Activity at Mount Dora Home of Missing Mom

3 Weeks and Still No Sign of Missing Mom

Mount Dora Woman Missing a Week, Daughter Wants Answers

Eustis Middle Teacher’s Assistant Arrested for Slapping Student Across the Face because she was “Frustrated.”

EUSTIS, Fla.—A Eustis Middle School employee who worked as both a teacher’s assistant and a family-school liaison was arrested for child abuse after a father reported she slapped his 14-year-old son across the face just before Thanksgiving break began earlier this month and according to Lake County Schools, she has been “alternatively placed in a role with no interaction with students.”

According to an arrest affidavit, on Nov. 17, the principal of EMS contacted the boy’s father and told him Ute Galloway, 61, had slapped his son across the face in front of other students and then pulled the boy aside to apologize to him, the father told police. He said the school’s administration told him they would “handle the situation” and call him at a later time to follow-up, but he never received a call.

Students and employees of Lake County Schools had the following week off and returned to school Monday and the father told a Eustis Police Department school resource officer (SRO) his son told him Galloway was still at the school and it “appeared there were no consequences for her actions,” the affidavit states.

He told the SRO his wife called the school to inquire why Galloway was still at the school and spoke with the principal who reportedly told her he could not go into detail about the investigation or provide what steps the school was taking while Galloway was under investigation, according to the affidavit.

The boy’s father said he was upset and wanted to press criminal charges against Galloway and the SRO told him it was a serious matter, and he would begin investigating it immediately. The SRO pulled video surveillance from the media center on Nov. 17 and observed the boy on his knees near where Galloway was sitting. The boy appeared to be drawing something on a piece of paper when Galloway unexpectedly slapped him on the left side of his face with an open hand.

The SRO called the boy in, and he told him he was playing a game with other students where they would draw parts of a turkey on a piece of paper. Galloway told the students not to look at the outline of the paper while drawing the turkey, but the boy looked at the outline anyway which “frustrated” Galloway.  He continued to look at the outline to draw the turkey and Galloway “suddenly smacked” him across the face which shocked him and the students who witnessed it. Galloway immediately pulled him into a room, apologized and said she slapped him out of frustration, he told the SRO.

The SRO then spoke with two students who had similar stories, and one said Galloway told the students she was sorry, and she had slapped the boy out of frustration, “not to make a big deal out of it,” and not to tell anyone what happened.

The SRO did not interview Galloway, because, according to the affidavit, she was “suspended indefinitely from the school.”

Galloway, who has been employed at EMS since August 2022, was arrested for child abuse without great bodily harm at her home in Eustis around 7 p.m. Wednesday and transported to the Lake County Jail, where she was released on $5,000 bond.

Inside Lake reached out to Lake County Schools to inquire about Galloway’s employment status.

“The incident is alleged to have occurred on the morning of Nov. 17, the last day of school for students and teachers prior to the Thanksgiving break. Nov. 27 was the first day back after the break. Galloway reported to work, and Employee Relations (ER) requested information from the school regarding the claim. After receiving the information, Galloway was told to report to ER and was alternatively placed,” LCS Communications Officer Sherri Owens said in an email. “Galloway has been alternatively placed in a role with no interaction with students while we investigate.”

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