Second Arrest Made in 2022 Umatilla Murder

TAVARES, Florida—A second man has been arrested in the 2022 murder of a Umatilla man.

Deandre Bernard Anderson, 32, of Leesburg, was booked into the Lake County Jail on a warrant for first degree murder Friday, accused of killing Antwain “Lil Daddy” Hart, 31, on Nov. 8, 2022. Hart was found with at least one gunshot wound in front of a home in the Southside area of unincorporated Umatilla and died during transport to AdventHealth Waterman in Tavares, Lake County Sheriff’s Office Lt. John Herrell told Inside Lake last year.

Only Inside Lake was on the scene following the shooting.

Antwain “Lil Daddy” Hart was murdered in Umatilla in 2022. Deputies have arrested two men for his murder and are searching for a third man. PHOTO: Hart Family

Hart’s rental vehicle, a 2022 white Jeep Cherokee, was stolen at the time of his murder and found about 12 hours later behind the First Church of God Eustis, 1550 North Highway 19, by Eustis Police Department. The church is just 3.7 miles from the murder scene.

Earlier this year, Undray Tony Benson, 51, of Orlando, was arrested in Orange County, accused of Hart’s murder after LCSO developed leads in the case, but details of the murder and a motive are unclear because the probable cause affidavit in the case is sealed, according to Lake County Clerk of Court online records.

Anderson and Benson are both being held at LCJ on no bond.

A warrant has been issued for a third man, Marvin Ellison Jr., but he has not been taken into custody. If you have information on Ellison’s whereabouts, call LCSO at 352-343-2101.

Lake County Sheriff’s Office deputies and Umatilla Police officers investigate after Antwain “Lil” Daddy Hart was found shot Nov. 8, 2022.

Report Reveals Details in Child Neglect Case, Victim’s Mom Speaks Only with Inside Lake

UMATILLA, Florida—The young girl left in a sweltering hot van last summer for 1 hour and 22 minutes beat on the van’s windows and doors and honked the horn until she was rescued, and the adults in charge of her failed to call 9-1-1, according to the girl’s mom and a report obtained by Inside Lake.

The girl, who was three weeks shy of her 7th birthday when the incident occurred in June 2022, fell asleep on a field trip to the Umatilla Public Pool and the adults who were responsible for her care failed to notice she was in the van and failed to count the children when they arrived at the pool to an outside temperature of 90 degrees last summer, according to the report written by Umatilla Police Department.

Inside Lake is not naming the girl or her mother.

According to the report, the child was at a summer camp held by Dance Depot at its Mount Dora location June 22, 2022, when a group of 41 children and seven staff members made the trek to the pool in three different vehicles. Dance Depot Owner Jolene Coates, 51, told UPD when they arrived at the pool, she said they counted the children but did not walk the length of the van due to the back doors being open at the time. Coates said 41 children were in the count and another child that was not in their group must have been counted by accident. Coates was not driving the van the child was trapped in. Another employee—the van’s driver— told police during a later interview that a head count was conducted before they left the studio, but not after they arrived at the pool, contradicting the statement Coates made to police. She told police Coates usually conducts the head counts, but sometimes that can change, and she was just “so busy” that day she did not conduct a count. Inside Lake is not naming the employee because she has not been charged with a crime.

Coates told police in a second interview in July 2022 she did not have any medical training except a recently expired CPR certification and “mom skills.” She said she did everything she would do if it was one of her own children.

The day of the incident, numerous people heard honking coming from outside the pool, Coates went out to investigate and found the girl locked in the van and ran to get the keys to let her out, the report states. Coates told police the girl had been left in the van approximately 40 to 50 minutes, but surveillance video later showed the girl had actually been alone in the locked van for 82 minutes, close to 1.5 hours. The video shows the campers arriving and entering the pool at 1:42 p.m., and just before 3:03 p.m. Coates is seen walking from the pool area to the parking lot. One minute later Coates is seen running back to the pool area to retrieve the keys to the van and at 3:05 p.m. Coates is seen walking back to the pool area with the girl.

The video also showed the girl’s face was “extremely” red and the top half of her shirt was so soaked with sweat, it appeared to be a darker color than the bottom half, an officer noted in the report.

Coates said she removed the child from the van, took her in a bathroom, removed her bathing suit, put cold water on her pulse points and neck. She then had the girl sit in the shade and gave her a popsicle. Three lifeguards told UPD the girl was crying and one of them, a juvenile, said the girl was having trouble breathing.

Coates said about 5 minutes later the girl asked to get in the pool, and she swam with her friends the rest of the time she was at the pool.

Jolene Coates

When Inside Lake broke the story Wednesday, it garnered dozens of comments on social media and opinions and rumors started flying, including a rumor that the girl continued to attend the summer camp following the incident. The girl’s mom spoke to this reporter Thursday to set the record straight.

According to Mom, Coates did not inform her about the incident until she picked her daughter up that afternoon and she was not truthful.

“We were not immediately notified,” she said.

Mom said Coates did apologize and she could tell Coates was “torn about something.” Coates told her they would be working on new training to make sure there was a head count as soon as they got out of the van, and it was a new employee who did not follow procedure.

She said when a UPD officer called her the day after the incident she was shocked to find out her little girl had been in the van much longer than Coates portrayed.

“The thing that caught me off guard…is that the time frame did not match with what was shown on the surveillance video. It seemed like a quick in-and-out thing, not an extended amount of time.”

The girl returned to the camp the next day, but once UPD told Mom how long the girl had actually been trapped in the van, her father immediately went to the studio and picked her up and she never returned, Mom said.

“Because of the conversation we had with Jolene (Coates,) and we had entrusted her, and we knew of her reputation; it was an accident. And then once we got the report from the police and the witness statements, we realized we were lied to, I immediately called my husband, and he promptly went and got her out of there.”

People on social media also questioned why the child did not get out of the van on her own, “She was banging on the doors, she banged on the windows, she couldn’t open the doors, she couldn’t open the windows. Her hands, they were beet red, like the veins on her hands were bloodshot from banging on them and then she was able to get to the horn, thankfully.”

When Mom and Dad spoke with police the day after the incident, they pressed charges that day, Mom said, and the State Attorney’s Office (SAO) had already planned on picking up the charges. She said the SAO told them in August 2022, an arrest could take a long time, as much as a year or more and they could only charge one party and the office felt the owner was the most liable. It was nearly 11 months since the incident when the principal to child neglect warrant was finally issued, and it took another week for her to get arrested. She was arrested and released Monday on $2,000 bond.

The second grader does not have any lasting physical injuries, but the incident has taken an emotional toll on her, Mom said. Her parents have had to reevaluate how they do certain things, and they rearranged their schedules this summer so they can spend the summer with her, rather than enroll her in a summer camp. Mom told Inside Lake she has become a “helicopter mom” and no longer trusts anyone to watch the girl outside of family.

Mom said she would like to see Coates get the maximum punishment and accountability for her actions. “I want the most responsible outcome anyone would expect out of this. If this was their child, like anybody else, if this was their child, how would they feel?”

Owner of Popular Dance Studio Accused of Leaving Girl, 6, in Hot Vehicle Last Summer

UMATILLA, Florida—The owner of a popular dance studio with locations in Umatilla and Mount Dora was arrested at her home in Altoona Monday for child neglect, according to Lake County Clerk of Court Records.

Jolene Amy Coates, 51, owner of Dance Depot was picked up on the warrant by the Lake County Sheriff’s Office stemming from an incident in June 2022. The warrant was a direct file from Fifth Judicial Circuit State Attorney William “Bill” Gladson’s office May 10.

According to the information filed in the warrant, Coates, “while being responsible for the welfare of the (undisclosed victim)” left a child unsupervised in a hot vehicle with temperatures above 90 degrees. The child’s name is redacted from one copy of the document, and Inside Lake is not releasing her name. It is unclear what relationship Coates had to the girl, who was 6 years old at the time.

Details in the public record are limited and Inside Lake was tipped off to the arrest after business hours Wednesday.

According to Coates’ arrest affidavit, she was arrested at her home in Altoona Monday afternoon and transported to the Lake County Jail, where she was released on $2,000 bond.

Dance Depot’s website lists Coates as the owner/director and states she teaches princess classes, combination classes and works with Revolution, the performance company. The studio also offers a summer camp, according to its website.

Person Airlifted After Being Rescued from Fire Sunday Night, Deputy Transported

ALTOONA, Florida—One person was rescued and airlifted for treatment and a Lake County Sheriff’s Office deputy was transported to the hospital following a structure fire Sunday night, according to Umatilla Fire Department.

Numerous agencies responded to the fire in addition to UFD and LCSO, including Eustis Fire Department, Leesburg Fire Department, Lake County Fire Rescue, Marion County Fire Rescue and Lake EMS, a UFD social media post stated. An exact address for the fire was unavailable at press time, but numerous social media posts and comments said the fire was in the Shockley Heights area.

UFD was first on the scene of the fire that had one person trapped inside. The unidentified person was rescued and airlifted to a local hospital and a deputy was transported to an area hospital to get checked out, according to UFD. The fire was extinguished.

FHP Searching for Hit-and-Run Driver Who Killed Umatilla Man in Marion County

MARION COUNTY, Florida—The Florida Highway Patrol is searching for an SUV that hit a Umatilla bicyclist early Friday morning, killing him.

The 44-year-old man, identified by his sister as Patrick Williams, was riding in an unknown direction in the outside southbound lane of U.S. Highway 441 near Del Webb Boulevard in an unknown direction, when he was struck by an SUV traveling south.

The SUV struck the bicycle and fled the scene; the bicycle was not equipped with illumination devices, FHP said. Williams was pronounced deceased on the scene by Marion County Fire Rescue shortly before 5 a.m. Friday. FHP is searching for the driver and the vehicle they believe to be a silver or grey Chevrolet Tahoe, Suburban, or C Series/K Series 1500, 1500 HD, 2500 HD or 3500 HD between the model years of 1994 and 1998. If you have information, call *FHP on your cell phone.

Fourth Annual Lake County Back the Blue Walk Scheduled for Saturday

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.

Shannon Cook shows off one of the many gifts she has for the law enforcement officers who attend the walk Saturday. PHOTO: Shannon Cook

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.

Rollover Crash Kills Eustis Man Friday Morning

UMATILLA, Florida—A rollover crash killed a Eustis man just before daylight Friday morning, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.

The 41-year-old man was driving a 1997 Chevy GMT-400 northbound on State Road 19 near Baker Road just outside of Umatilla, when he lost control for an unknown reason while negotiating a lefthand curve around 6:35 a.m., FHP Lt. Tara Crescenzi said in a press release.

The Eustis man overcorrected, causing the truck to overturn multiple times and come to a final rest on the west shoulder of State Road 19, Crescenzi said. He was pronounced deceased on the scene. The crash remains under investigation.

Man Accused of Robbing Downtown Eustis Business has Lengthy Criminal History

EUSTIS, Florida—The man Eustis Police say robbed a downtown business Friday has a lengthy prison history and served his first prison sentence nearly 20 years ago, according to court records.

Jacob Thomas Parrish, 36, of Umatilla, was arrested shortly after 3 p.m. Friday after employees of Wells Fargo Advisors, 127 North Bay Street, in the heart of downtown Eustis, called 9-1-1 and reported Parrish entered the business armed with a knife. EPD Capt. Jon Fahning told Inside Lake Friday. Police believe Parrish thought the location was a bank; the building, at the corner of Bay Street and McDonald Avenue houses financial advisors.

Jacob Parrish PHOTO: Lake County Sheriff’s Office

Three employees were in the building and barricaded themselves in an office and Parrish refused to let them out and they called police, Fahning told Inside Lake on the scene. Parrish locked himself in the building and a manager of the business quickly brought law enforcement officers a key.

The Lake County Sheriff’s Office assisted EPD and Parrish surrendered when a K9 arrived on the scene, Fahning said. None of the employees were injured. Parrish was taken into custody and arrested for armed robbery, and three counts of false imprisonment. He is being held in the Lake County Jail on $35,000 bond.

PHOTO: Marilyn M. Aciego/Inside Lake

According to Lake County Clerk of Court online records, Parrish was first sentenced to prison in June 2005 when he was just 19 years old. Parrish pleaded no contest to armed burglary, grand theft and carrying a concealed weapon. He was given a 40-month suspended prison sentence; he later violated community control and was sent to prison to serve his time. Documents containing the details of all his cases were not available Saturday.

In 2013, Parrish pleaded no contest to manufacturing methamphetamine, possession of a listed chemical and possession of paraphernalia. He was sentenced to two years in prison in that case. He was given credit for time served in LCJ and released March 17, 2014.

Just under six months later, Parrish was arrested again, this time for burglary, grand theft, resisting arrest and trespassing. He pleaded guilty in that case and was sentenced to five years in prison. He was released Feb. 18, 2020.

Orlando Man Arrested for 2022 Umatilla Murder

UMATILLA, Florida—The Lake County Sheriff’s Office has made an arrest in the murder of a man in Umatilla last year.  

Only Inside Lake was on the scene after Antwain “Lil Daddy” Hart, 31, was found suffering at least one gunshot wound Nov. 8. 2022 in front of a home on Merrell Avenue in the Southside area of unincorporated Umatilla. He was transported to AdventHealth Waterman in Tavares by Lake EMS, but died during transport, LCSO Lt. John Herrell told Inside Lake last year.

Hart’s rental vehicle, a 2022 white Jeep Cherokee, was stolen at the time of his murder and found about 12 hours later behind the First Church of God Eustis, 1550 North Highway 19, by Eustis Police Department. The church is just 3.7 miles from the murder scene.

Undray Benson PHOTO: Lake County Sheriff’s Office

LCSO began developing leads in the case following Hart’s murder and an arrest warrant for first degree murder was issued for an Orlando man on March 8. Undray Tony Benson, 51, was picked up in Orange County and booked into the Orange County Jail March 21; he was later transferred to the Lake County Jail, where he is being held on no bond.

Details on what may have led to Hart’s murder are unknown because Benson’s probable cause affidavit is sealed. Herrell said a warrant has been issued for a second man, Marvin Ellison Jr., but he has not been taken into custody. If you have information on Ellison’s whereabouts, call LCSO at 352-343-2101.

LCSO investigates after a man was found shot in unincorporated Umatilla in this November 2022 photo. PHOTO: Marilyn M. Aciego/Inside Lake

Dry Conditions Force Countywide Burn Ban

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.

Scroll to Top