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.

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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

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.”

Police: Woman Crashes into Pole at Eustis Gas Station, Breath-Alcohol Level More than 4x the Legal Limit

EUSTIS, Fla.—A woman who crashed into a pole at a gas station Saturday had a breath-alcohol level more than four times the legal limit, according to an arrest affidavit.

Shortly before 6 p.m. Saturday, Eustis Police Department responded to Circle K, 19516 State Road 44, Eustis on a report of a drunk driver. When officers arrived, they found Viviana Natalie Viera, 47, had crashed her vehicle into a small pole in front of the gas pumps, the affidavit states.

Viera, of Altamonte Springs, reeked of alcohol, was swaying side to side and had to use her vehicle door for support, the arresting officer noted. Officers observed an open bottle of vodka in the center console; after first refusing one officer, Viera told another officer she would complete field sobriety exercises but quickly said she could not do them, and she was placed under arrest.

Several other vodka bottles were found the vehicle when officers inventoried it and Viera was taken to the Lake County Jail for a breath test. One sample was .333—more than four times the legal limit of .08—and the second sample was .315, nearly four times the legal limit.

Viera was turned over to the custody of LCJ and released Monday on $2,000 bond.

Event Planned for Sunday to Benefit Children of Sorrento Moms Killed in Connecticut Crash Last Month

EUSTIS, Fla.—A community plans to come together Sunday afternoon to raise money for three children injured in a crash that killed their moms in Connecticut last month.

On Oct. 22, Lacey Marie Price, 32, and Rebecca “Becky” Marie Schutte, 36, both of Sorrento, were passengers in a Lincoln Aviator being driven by Kory Watson, 40, of Hillsville, Va. Watson veered into the right lane for an unknown reason on Interstate 91 South in Wethersfield, Conn. and collided with the rear of a tractor-trailer parked on the right shoulder.

The collision killed Watson and Price; Schutte was transported to Hartford Hospital where she succumbed to her injuries. Schutte’s two children, Hailyn, 11 and Braysen, 9, and Price’s daughter, Willow, 7, were also in the Aviator at the time of the crash. Connecticut State Police said the children received minor injuries in the hours after the crash, but they were all severely injured.

Hailyn suffered a broken neck, shattered hip, a broken leg and head lacerations. Braysen suffered a shattered spine and bruised kidneys, and Willow suffered a compression spinal fracture and fractured wrist. All three children have since been released from the hospital, but have a long road ahead of them, both physically and emotionally.

A benefit concert featuring Nails Creek Records recording artists Dallas Tyler and Zach Denby is scheduled for noon Sunday at Crossroads 44, 36721 County Road 19A, Eustis. The benefit will also include $10 BBQ dinners, a 50/50 raffle, live auction of donated merchandise and $2 Jello shots. All proceeds will benefit the children. Admission is $15 and tickets can be purchased at the gate.

John Conley, one of the organizers of the event spoke to Inside Lake about his friendship with Price and Schutte and said they loved their children immensely.

“Lacey and Becky were a lot alike in many ways,” Conley said. “They were outspoken and stood up for what they thought was right. If either one of them had something to say, you were going to hear it, like it or not.”

Conley spoke of their giving nature and their smiles.

“They would give the shirt off their backs if you were in need,” Conley said. “They had a good sense of humor and had contagious smiles when they entered a room. They were genuine women who you could count on to be there. If they were in your corner, they had your back.”

His memories of the two women span many years; Price grew up just four houses down from his grandparents and he met Schutte in middle school, along with her brother Chris. Schutte and her brother lived just a neighborhood away from Conley’s grandparents and Price.

Conley fondly remembers just riding and “jamming out” with Price. “(The) last time that happened we ended up at Coconuts on the Beach day drinking,” he said with a laugh.

He also told Inside Lake about the time Schutte talked him into letting a guy she was dating at the time recolor a faded tattoo. “Long story short, he couldn’t color in the lines, and she had to fixt it,” he said.

Lacey Price and John Conley

Conley was struck by tragedy more than once last month. On Oct. 26—just four days after he lost Price and Schutte—he lost another family friend, Richard “Rick” McPhee, after he succumbed to injuries suffered in a hit-and-run-crash in July. The driver who hit McPhee as he was riding his bicycle to work on Wolf Branch Road, still has not been identified.

For more information on the benefit for Hailyn, Braysen and Willow, visit Benefit Concert for Kids @ Crossroads 44


Previous story: Connecticut Crash Claims the Lives of 2 Sorrento Women and Virginia Man, 3 Children Hospitalized

Eustis Police Investigating Wednesday Morning Stabbing

EUSTIS, Fla.—Eustis Police Department is investigating a stabbing that sent a 28-year-old man to the hospital early Wednesday morning.

The man told police he was near the intersection of Palmetto Street and Bates Avenue around 5:40 a.m. when a man came out of a wooded area, they exchanged words and the man attacked him, according to Eustis Police Department.

The victim suffered superficial cuts to his back, arm, hand and behind his ear, EPD said. He was taken to an area hospital for treatment and is expected to be OK.

Benefit for LCSO Deputy Diagnosed with Cancer Scheduled for Saturday

EUSTIS, Fla.—An event to benefit a Lake County Sheriff’s Office school resource deputy who was diagnosed with cancer earlier this year is scheduled for Saturday.

What started as chest pain in 2022 turned into a terrifying diagnosis last summer for LCSO Cpl. Adam Tytler. In November 2022, Tytler went to a cardiologist for ongoing chest pain, and after a EKG showed his heart was in good shape, the cardiologist told him the pain was likely gastrointestinal. The next month, on Christmas Eve, Tytler discovered a swollen lymph node on his neck and by February the lymph node had not gotten any better. He was also suffering from a sinus infection at the time and went to his primary care doctor for treatment and mentioned the lymph node. The doctor chalked it up to the infection, but during the spring Tytler’s chest pain continued and had also moved to his back, and then he began to find swollen lymph nodes on his chest.

Tytler went through a battery of tests and upon reviewing the results, his doctor said it was likely cancer. Tytler sought a second opinion from the Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa and his fears were confirmed when he was diagnosed with Stage 4 Hodgkins Lymphoma in June 2023.

Tytler, his wife Tiffany, and two daughters, Shay 17, Lily, 14, are currently splitting their time between Mount Dora and Tampa for treatment and it is taking a financial toll on the family while already dealing with an emotional roller coaster. Tytler said he came forward with his struggle because cancer affects millions of people and often they go through it alone.

“I would have given up if it weren’t for my faith, my family and the support from the school resource deputy unit,” Tytler said. “I only wanted for those who are struggling to know they are not alone. Not now. Not ever and to never give up.”

Tytler’s struggle inspired Shannon Cook, organizer of Lake County’s annual Back the Blue Walk, and LCSO Lt. Kristin Thompson to create the benefit scheduled for 1 p.m. Saturday at That Place, 925 North Bay Street, Eustis.

Dinners will be available for purchase, along with an auction of numerous items, including a Back the Blue basket with items from multiple Lake County law enforcement agencies, tickets to various events, like New Kids on the Block concert tickets and Richard Petty Driving Experience, along with a Yeti cooler packed with alcohol, various craft items made by local residents, a high-end fishing pole and numerous other items. A poker scramble is also scheduled to start at 9 a.m. at Gator Harley-Davidson, 1745 U.S. Highway 441, Leesburg, and will include five stops, ending at That Place, Cook told Inside Lake.

Tytler has spent nearly his entire adult life at LCSO, and most recently worked as a corporal in the school resource deputy unit. He prevented a shooting on the Eustis High School campus during the 2018-2019 school year and was awarded the Lake County Officer of the Year in 2019 for his efforts.

He said he is excited he has only one treatment left, and it has been a difficult journey. “Truthfully, it’s been challenging and difficult treatment-wise, not just for me but my family also,” Tytler said.

He will have to wait until after the new year to find out if he is cancer-free, he said.

Tytler told Inside Lake saying thank you to all those who have helped him, and contributed to the benefit will never be enough.

“My family and I are so appreciative and overwhelmed of the outpouring of love and support from everyone. Especially from people I’ve never met,” he said.

For more information on the benefit, visit Corporal Adam Tytler Benefit.

Candlelight Vigil Held for Umatilla Teen Killed in Crash Monday

LEESBURG, Fla.—Dozens of vehicles lined both sides of Goose Prairie Road Tuesday night for a candlelight vigil held in remembrance of a teen who was killed in a crash Monday.

The Florida Highway Patrol confirmed the names of both teens to Inside Lake Tuesday afternoon and loved ones and friends gathered to honor Michael Pasternak, 16, of Umatilla, who was the passenger in a Jeep Wrangler that overturned several times, killing him and the driver shortly before 8 p.m. Monday.

Lane Johnson, 17, of Leesburg, was driving the 2016 Wrangler eastbound on Goose Prairie Road near Felkins Road when he attempted to pass a 2005 Ford F-150 in a no-passing zone, shortly before 8 p.m. Monday, FHP Lt. Tara Crescenzi said.

The Wrangler entered the westbound lane and attempted to reenter the eastbound lane due to oncoming traffic. The rear of the Wrangler collided with the front of the F-150 and the Wrangler traveled onto the eastbound grass shoulder of the road. Johnson overcorrected, the Wrangler then traveled across both lanes, overturned several times and struck a wire fence, according to Crescenzi.

Johnson and Pasternak were pronounced deceased on the scene; they were both wearing their seatbelts. The teens were identified as adult males shortly after the crash by FHP and later confirmed to be teenagers in a media release Tuesday morning. Both teens’ next of kin were notified before their names were confirmed to Inside Lake.

The driver of the F-150 was not injured. His age and city were originally incorrect in the first media release; FHP later said he was a 38-year-old man from Umatilla.

Pasternak was a junior at Alee Academy Charter High School in Eustis and Director/Principal Cindy Emerick spoke to Inside Lake about him Tuesday afternoon. She described him as “always smiling” and he was “literally liked by everyone,” Emerick said.

“He had big plans,” Emerick said. “He was going to do something great.”

The school’s mantra is they are a “Fam-Alee” and the “Fam-Alee” bond between the students and faculty was apparent to Emerick Tuesday, she said.

“Our students had a rough day today. So did we,” she said.

Grief counselors were available on campus Tuesday and will continue to be available if needed, Emerick said.

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