FRUITLAND Park, Fla.—A Fruitland Park man has been released from the Lake County Jail on bond after admitting to deputies he strangled his dog and cat, according to an arrest affidavit.
Lake County Sheriff’s Office deputies responded to a home in Fruitland Park Thursday morning on a report of a man, later identified as William Victor Brown, 65, having “homicidal/suicidal tendencies.”
The complainant said Brown told her had strangled his black and white cat and black and brown Chihuahua Wednesday night and he wanted to kill himself with his gun, the affidavit states.
Deputies spoke with Brown, who admitted he strangled both animals and said he did it because he had nowhere to place them, they were both old and he could not find a place to euthanize them. He said he put the dog and cat in a black trash bag after he killed them.
An LCSO sergeant found the dog alive in a nearby dumpster and she was turned over to LCSO’s Animal Enforcement Unit, and according to Lake County Animal Shelter online records, the pup entered foster care Friday. The cat was not found and is presumed deceased.
Brown was arrested for death of an animal and attempted death of an animal. He was transported to LCJ, where he was released on $10,000 bond.
LEESBURG, Fla.—The Lake-Sumter State College Foundation honored its Distinguished Alumni and Hall of Fame recipients Tuesday night in a ceremony held at the Everett A. Kelly Convocation Center at the college’s Leesburg campus.
Nine individuals and a community organization were recognized for their achievements and contributions to the community in front of a large crowd that enjoyed a three-course dinner and video testimonials from the recipients.
Each year, the LSSC Foundation Board of Directors select the recipients from nominations made by the public to receive distinguished alumni awards. For the first time its 12-year history, two people were awarded the prestigious Professional Achievement Award, and one of the recipients was Inside Lake’s Publisher Marilyn Aciego.
Aciego discovered her passion for journalism at Lake-Sumter State College after taking a media class and later became editor of both The Angler and The Odyssey, LSSC’s student publications. She was hired by the Daily Commercial while she was still a student at LSSC and worked her way up to the lead cops and courts reporter. She covered numerous stories that gained national interest, including the death of beloved Sheriff Chris Daniels, a murder committed by identical twins and the disappearance of Trenton Duckett. Aciego’s coverage of these stories lead to appearances on Nancy Grace dozens of times and an episode of Evil Twins on Investigation Discovery.
She left the Daily Commercial in 2009 and began working for an international media organization in an entry-level position and was named Florida bureau chief just three years later. In 2010, she joined recently-retired attorney James Hope to write local stories for Hope’s Lake Legal News magazine, rising to editor-in-chief and then partnering with Hope to start the online edition that focused on breaking crime and public safety news.
In 2021, Aciego and Hope dissolved their partnership and Aciego rebranded Lake Legal News to Inside Lake and began covering general news along with crime news.
“Lake County was becoming a news desert,” Aciego said. “I knew it was time to start Inside Lake.”
It was these achievements that earned Aciego the prestigious Professional Achievement Award and Tuesday night she shared that honor with Sandra Wilson, a 1989 graduate of LSSC.
Lake-Sumter State College Foundation Distinguished Alumni and Hall of Fame 2023
Marilyn Aciego—Distinguished Alumni, Professional Achievement Award
Sandra Wilson— Distinguished Alumni, Professional Achievement Award
Pat Atley— Distinguished Alumni, Scholar Award
Christine Boodhoo— Distinguished Alumni, Valor Award
Juliana Green— Distinguished Alumni, Community Engagement Award
Andrew LoFaro—Distinguished Alumni, Graduate of the Last Decade Award
Toni Upchurch— Hall of Fame, Faculty Award
Kevin Yurasek— Hall of Fame, Staff Award
Patrick Ryan— Hall of Fame, Athletics Award
The Live Well Foundation of South Lake— Hall of Fame, Community Partner Award
LAKE COUNTY, Fla.—The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission has launched a public reporting tool to help in its research on a virus that is killing Florida freshwater turtles.
FWC has been studying turtle fraservirus (TFV1) since 2018 and is now asking the public to report any sick or dead turtles to help them combat and understand this deadly virus. TFV1 has been found in Lake County, in addition to several other counties in Central Florida, but it could be present throughout the state, FWC warns; it has been identified in softshells, cooters, sliders and snapping turtles.
Signs a turtle could be infected:
Appears sluggish, unresponsive or reluctant to flee.
Stays in shallow water or beached on banks for prolonged periods of time.
Head and neck outstretched flat along the ground.
Sunken, swollen crusty and/or cloudy eyes.
Reddened skin on head, neck, limbs or bottom of shell.
Swims irregularly (sideways, in circles or is unable to submerge)
In 2021, FWC enacted an executive order prohibiting unpermitted taking and transporting of softshell turtles and yellow-bellied sliders to reduce the spread of TFV1, Turtles should not be captured and transported to a new location even if they seem healthy.
FRUITLAND PARK, Florida—A Fruitland Park man is facing more two dozen counts of possession of child pornography and six counts of transmitting pornography after a search warrant revealed numerous images in his Adobe account, according to a probable cause affidavit.
Acting on a tip from the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC,) Fruitland Park Police Department began investigating a report that eight images of child pornography were uploaded to an Adobe account belonging to David Michael Frisby, 37, on Dec. 18, 2022. A search warrant revealed 571 photos in his account including the eight photos that began the investigation and “the majority of them were pornography related and focused on young girls,” the affidavit states.
Through a subpoena, FPPD found that Frisby used Apple Private Relay and created an iCloud Private Relay that keeps internet activity private and hides the IP address being used. It hides activity in the Safari browser so well even Apple cannot see it and also hides the user’s actual email address and generates a private email address that is linked to the user’s Apple ID.
The detective investigating the case also found Frisby was the Geek Squad manager at Best Buy in Lady Lake, “This leads your affiant to believe that David is very familiar with computers, software, data entry, technology repair, cell phones and use of other electronic devices,” the detective noted in the affidavit.
A warrant was issued for Frisby’s arrest Aug. 2 for 25 counts of possession of child pornography, 10 or more images and six counts of transmission of pornography; he was picked up by FPPD Tuesday and transported to the Lake County Jail, where he was released on $137,000 bond.
TAVARES, Florida—The Lake Amateur Radio Association (LARA) hosted its annual Ham Radio Field Day event June 24 and 25 at the Lake County Institute of Public Safety, drawing enthusiasts from far and wide. The event, captured in a captivating photo, featured the club’s president, Glenn Casselman, and his spouse, Laura, who is also a Ham radio enthusiast. The picturesque location provided the perfect backdrop for a day filled with showcasing mobile command vehicles from the Lake County Sheriff’s Office, Lake County Fire Rescue, and, of course, the Lake Amateur Radio Association.
Established in 1952 by a group of Lake County/City radio amateurs, LARA has steadily grown over the years and now boasts a membership of more than 130 dedicated individuals. Not only do they own their own property, but they have also constructed a state-of-the-art clubhouse onsite. LARA’s primary focus lies in the fun hobby of Ham radio and service to the community. Furthermore, the club’s three VHF repeaters and three UHF repeaters, some of which are linked to Echolink, DMR and the IRLP network, enable worldwide communications, amplifying the club’s impact and reach.
The Ham Radio Field Day event at the Lake County Institute of Public Safety serves as a testament to LARA’s commitment to promoting the invaluable role of amateur radio in emergency situations. The event not only highlighted the association’s advanced communication capabilities but also fostered a sense of camaraderie among radio enthusiasts and local public safety agencies. As LARA continues to expand its membership and community involvement, their dedication to serving as a vital link during times of crisis remains unwavering. For more information, visit www.k4fc.org
MOUNT DORA, Florida—Two people are in the Lake County Jail following a tussle with Mount Dora Police Department and a multi-agency pursuit across Lake County Friday.
Shortly after midnight, MDPD responded to Perkins, 17080 U.S. Highway 441, Mount Dora on a report of a verbal argument. Officers found a black Ford F-150 with two occupants inside and identified the pair as Larissa Molina, 22 of Franklin, North Carolina and Adrian Delgado, 22, of Kissimmee. Officers ran the VIN of the truck and found it was possibly stolen out of Orange County, according to Delgado’s arrest affidavit.
Delgado apparently had a tire iron in his hands and MDPD tried to take him into custody; details in the affidavit are very limited and it is unclear when Delgado armed himself with the tire iron. Delgado tried to get away and kept “slipping out” of an MDPD’s officer’s grip and another officer tased Delgado, striking him in the back. Delgado then fled northbound toward U.S. Highway 441 on foot, the affidavit states.
He ran west toward the Walmart parking lot nearby and was finally apprehended in the parking lot of First National Bank at the corner of Eudora Road and U.S. Highway 441. Delgado reportedly said he was scared because he was homeless and kept asking about Molina, the affidavit states.
He was placed in the back of a patrol unit, where he vomited and was taken to AdventHealth Waterman in Tavares, where he was medically cleared and then transported to the Lake County Jail.
While Delgado was fleeing on foot, Molina fled in the stolen truck and MDPD attempted to stop her but was not successful. A Lake County Sheriff’s Office deputy was in the area of Perkins when he heard unintelligible radio traffic but “sounded in distress,” he noted in Molina’s arrest affidavit.
“I began responding to the call when I was informed a black F-150 had struck one of the officers in an attempt to get away and was traveling northbound on U.S. Highway 441,” the deputy stated in the affidavit.
Molina, however, is not facing a charge of aggravated battery on a law enforcement officer, which would be standard if she struck the MDPD officer as she was fleeing.
The deputy spotted the truck at U.S. Highway 441 and Spring Harbor Boulevard and attempted to perform a traffic stop. Molina continued to flee northbound on U.S. Highway 441, making several U-turns, failed to yield to oncoming traffic and reached speeds over more than 100 miles per hour, the affidavit states.
Multiple agencies assisted including Eustis Police Department, Tavares Police Department and Fruitland Park Police Department; LCSO never lost sight of the truck as it traveled across the county. FPPD deployed stop sticks at Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and the truck struck them and continued to flee before coming to a final stop at Lagrande Boulevard and U.S. Highway 27 in The Villages. Molina was then taken into custody, according to the affidavit.
The pair is facing multiple charges; Molina was arrested for fleeing and eluding, no driver license, grand theft auto, resisting an officer without violence and loitering or prowling. She is being held on $14,000 bond. Delgado is facing charges of battery on a law enforcement officer, resisting an officer with violence, resisting an officer without violence, grand theft auto and loitering or prowling; he is being held on $13,500 bond.
LAKE COUNTY, Florida—Several local law enforcement agencies are counting on the public to help them grow their K9 units with a grant from a national biohazard clean-up company.
Five agencies in Lake County are competing for a $2,500 grant that can be used for their K9 units, such as purchasing equipment and other needs for their pups. The grant will be provided by Aftermath Service LLC, a national company that provides biohazard clean-ups from incidents such as crime scenes and unattended deaths.
Eustis Police Department, Fruitland Park Police Department, Lady Lake Police Department, Lake County Sheriff’s Office and Tavares Police Department are all competing for the cash for their K9S. TPD has not had a K9 officer in nearly 20 years, newly-appointed TPD Chief Sarah Coursey told Inside Lake.
“I saw a need in my community for this essential unit, which will better aid the officers in locating and removing dangerous narcotics from our city and tracking missing or endangered persons,” Coursey said.
Most agencies have taken to social media to ask for the public’s help getting votes, and TPD has been posting to its popular Facebook page each day since voting began. TPD does not have dogs yet but has already chosen its two officers that will become handlers, Officer Ben Carter and Officer Zack Barclay and have posted their photos on Facebook in hopes of drawing in votes. A quick glance at the comments shows Barclay has been quite popular—especially with the ladies.
“Our Facebook page has always been an excellent source of information when solving crimes; the community has always stepped up to the plate with valuable information and now we are asking them to throw us a bone,” Coursey explained.
TAVARES, Florida—Law enforcement and supporters will join forces for the fourth annual Lake County Back the Blue Walk at Wooton Park Saturday morning.
Scheduled for 9 a.m., this is one of many law enforcement events around Lake County held in May during Law Enforcement Appreciation Month. In its fourth year, the walk began in 2019 to show support for law enforcement during a time when the “defund the police” movement was making its way across the country, event organizer Shannon Cook told Inside Lake. Representatives from several law enforcement agencies and numerous public officials are expected to be in attendance.
“The good ones needed to know they were appreciated,” Cook said.
Cook has always had respect for law enforcement officers and the job they do, she said. Her close friend, Lake County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Wayne Koester, was killed in the line of duty Feb. 9, 2005. Koester, who was 33 at the time, and two other deputies were ambushed while responding to a domestic violence call. All three deputies were shot, and Koester succumbed to his injuries; the other two deputies recovered. Jason Wheeler was shot and paralyzed during his capture and convicted in Koester’s death. Cook was also close to Chris Daniels, who was serving as Lake County Sheriff when he was tragically killed in a charity bus race in 2006 on his birthday.
Cook told Inside Lake it is important the community show its support for all of the good officers and those who were lost in the line of duty. Usually a one-woman show, Cook has some help this year from Wayne Koester’s brother, Victor Koester, Jolie Fowler, owner of The Car Doctor Automotive Specialist Inc., in Eustis, Lt. Kristin Thompson of the Lake County Sheriff’s Office and Nina Rosania, who is very active in the community, especially in her efforts helping out small businesses in Lake County.
Participants will meet a 9 a.m. at Wooton Park, 100 East Ruby Street, Tavares. The first stop will be the Lake County Administration Building, then a stop at the Tavares Public Safety Complex and the walk will end at Kalua Beach Bar with lunch. Donuts will be provided before the walk by Lake Tire & Auto in Tavares, and a hot dog lunch will be available at Kalua Beach Bar, provided by the restaurant and Duct-Man Mechanical LLC in Eustis.
LAKE COUNTY, Florida—Lake County officials imposed a burn ban effective Friday that will last indefinitely, according to a press release.
The burn ban is in effect for all of Lake County and prohibits the burning of yard debris, land and recreational fires but does not include outdoor fireplaces, barbecue grills and barbecue pits that have a total fuel area of 3 feet or less and 2 feet or less in height.
Dry conditions forced the move by county officials and surrounding counties have enacted similar bans. For more than three weeks, the Keetch-Byram Drought Index (KBDI) rating has exceeded 500 and the ban is necessary for public safety, the press release stated.
When the KDBI rating falls below 500 for seven consecutive days, the county will lift the ban.
TAVARES, Florida—The Lake County Sheriff’s Office has arrested three people and is looking for a fourth person, it says conspired to smuggle drugs into the Lake County Detention Center, better known as the Lake County Jail or LCJ.
LCSO announced Friday it arrested Victoria Morrison, 24, of Lady Lake, Robert Morrison, 28, of Leesburg, and Anthony Arnold, 37, of Fruitland Park and a warrant has been issued for the arrest Patrick White, 40, of Okahumpka, according to a press release. Victoria Morrison and Robert Morrison are brother and sister, LCSO Lt. Fred Jones told Inside Lake.
According to LCSO, Victoria Morrison attempted to “introduce” fentanyl, methamphetamine and suboxone into LCJ with the help of her boyfriend, Tevaughn Johnson, who was locked up in the Marion County Jail. While cooperating with her brother, who was incarcerated at LCJ and two other inmates, Arnold and White, Victoria Morrison attempted to smuggle the drugs in, but they were intercepted by detectives before they entered the jail, the press release states.
For the next nine months, detectives investigated and intercepted contraband before it made its way into the jail. The probable cause affidavits are sealed and no other information is being released at this time.
Victoria Morrison was serving felony probation when she was arrested Thursday for trafficking in methamphetamine more than 28 grams, conspiracy to traffick in methamphetamine more than 28 grams, possession of suboxone with intent to deliver within 1,000 feet of a school and conspiracy to introduce contraband into a detention facility. Due to the probation violation, she is being held on no bond. Her boyfriend, Tevaughn Johnson, 29, was moved from the Marion County Jail to federal custody on a firearms violation and no charges were filed yet in this case; LCSO has forwarded the information to the U.S. Marshals.
Arnold, who was arrested last year for strangling and raping a woman, is scheduled to go to trial next month, and Victoria Morrison’s brother, Robert, who has been held in the Lake County since June 2022 on a tampering with evidence charge and possession of marijuana with intent to deliver, are each facing additional charges of conspiracy to possess contraband in a detention facility and unlawful use of a two-way communication device and are being held on no bond. White, who was released from LCJ in December 2022, is wanted for the same charges.