Inside Scoop

Tavares brothers-in-law found safe in Miami

TAVARES, Fla.—The two Tavares men reported missing have been found, according to Tavares Police Department.

Richard Weis, 85, and his brother-in-law Charles Constable, 67, were located in Miami and are alive and safe, TPD Public Information Officer Courtney Sullivan told Inside Lake.

No other information was available at press time.

Previous story: Silver Alert issued for 2 Tavares men – Inside Lake

Tavares brothers-in-law found safe in Miami Read More »

Major law enforcement presence in missing Mount Dora mom’s former neighborhood Friday

MOUNT DORA, Fla.—Multiple law enforcement agencies could be seen Friday searching multiple bodies of water in the neighborhood where Mount Dora mom Nicole Baldwin was reported missing in November 2023.

Dive teams from several Central Florida sheriff’s offices converged on Lancaster at Loch Leven beginning around 8 a.m. Friday and searched multiple bodies of water and retention ponds near Strathmore Circle where Baldwin was reported missing by her daughter Alisha Baldwin in early November 2023, Mount Dora Police Department Spokesperson Misty Sommer told Inside Lake Friday. Dive teams from Lake County Sheriff’s Office, Sumter County Sheriff’s Office, Marion County Sheriff’s Office, Seminole County Sheriff’s Office, Volusia County Sheriff’s Office, Groveland Fire Department, and Search and Rescue of Central Florida, according to LCSO.

Courtesy photo

Numerous residents reached out to Inside Lake Friday morning concerned about the large law enforcement presence in their neighborhood. This search comes less than week after another large-scale ground search was conducted Saturday in east Eustis, also with multiple agencies, Sommer told Inside Lake last week.

Baldwin, 41, who has been missing for nearly six months, is described as 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 a reward.

Previous story: Multiple law enforcement agencies search for missing Mount Dora mom Saturday – Inside Lake

 

Major law enforcement presence in missing Mount Dora mom’s former neighborhood Friday Read More »

Silver Alert issued for 2 Tavares men

Update: Richard Weis, 85, and his brother-in-law Charles Constable, 67, were located in Miami and are alive and safe.

TAVARES, Fla.—Tavares Police Department is searching for two men who were last seen in Altamonte Springs around 1:30 p.m. Thursday, according to TPD Spokesperson Courtney Sullivan

Tavares residents Richard Weis, 85, and his brother-in-law Charles Constable, 67, are believed to be traveling in a grey 2019 Jeep Cherokee Limited with license plate Z7XKE and dark tinted windows and a “Sheriffs 2024” sticker on the driver side rear window.

Weis has undiagnosed dementia and is described as 5 feet, 8 inches tall, 185 pounds and was wearing a green plaid shirt and possibly grey shorts.

Constable has been diagnosed with dementia and is also described as 5 feet, 8 inches tall, 185 pounds and was wearing a black sweatshirt with blue plaid pajama pants.

If you see Weis or Constable, call 911, or you have non-emergency information, call the Lake County Sheriff’s Office at 352-343-2101, option 4.

Silver Alert issued for 2 Tavares men Read More »

Tavares motorcyclist killed in Leesburg crash Saturday

LEESBURG, Fla.—A Tavares motorcyclist was killed Saturday afternoon after a car pulled out of a Leesburg gas station and collided with him on U.S. Highway 441, according to Leesburg Police Department Capt. Joe Iozzi.

William Clough, 65, was riding a 2015 Harley-Davidson southbound on U.S. Highway 441 near Tomato Hill Road when Bettyrose Knittle, 88, of Fruitland Park, pulled out of RaceTrac and struck Clough around 5 p.m., Iozzi said.

Clough was seriously injured and transported by ground to UF Health Leesburg Hospital, where he later succumbed to his injuries. Traffic was diverted around crash for approximately three hours, according to Iozzi.

LPD traffic homicide investigators are investigating the crash and are asking witnesses to contact them at 352-787-2121.

LPD also worked a crash earlier in the day that involved two motorcycles that crashed into each other while trying to avoid a vehicle on U.S. Highway 27 near the Hawthorne at Leesburg neighborhood.  Both riders were transported by air to local hospitals. The crash closed both the northbound and southbound lanes of U.S. Highway 27 for approximately 45 minutes, Iozzi said.

Tavares motorcyclist killed in Leesburg crash Saturday Read More »

Multiple law enforcement agencies search for missing Mount Dora mom Saturday

EUSTIS, Fla.—Only Inside Lake was on the scene as a large search was conducted Saturday by multiple law enforcement agencies for Mount Dora missing mom Nicole Baldwin.

Law enforcement officers and volunteers searched areas near the east side of Eustis for Baldwin, who has been missing since early November 2023. Inside Lake witnessed searchers on foot, along with additional searchers on ATVs and horses. The search spanned several hours and ended early in the afternoon Saturday.

PHOTO: Marilyn M. Aciego/Inside Lake

The search was planned for at least several weeks and a search of that magnitude involves a lot of preparation to coordinate with multiple agencies and units, MDPD Spokesperson Misty Sommer told Inside Lake.

“At this point in the investigation, Mount Dora Police Department is looking into all possible scenarios related to the search of Nicole Baldwin. This included a search, with our partner agencies, of nearby vacant lands that are in close proximity to her last known residence,” Sommer said.

Baldwin was last seen Nov. 2, 2023, at her Strathmore Circle home in Mount Dora and reported missing on Nov. 5, 2023. She was originally classified as “missing and endangered,” but a search warrant later stated police were looking for evidence in a second-degree murder investigation.

PHOTO: Marilyn M. Aciego/Inside Lake

This is the latest in a case that has seen many twists and turns; Baldwin’s husband, Brett, was arrested Dec.14, 2023 on federal child pornography charges and has been held on no bond in the Marion County Jail since his arrest. In January, investigators with MDPD and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement executed an electronics search warrant at the home of Terri Rogers, a volunteer and missing persons advocate who led several public searches for Baldwin. Rogers, who spoke exclusively with Inside Lake following the search, said investigators seized her phone, home security cameras, laptops and Amazon Alexa devices, among other electronics. Rogers has never been charged with a crime in this case.

Baldwin, 41, 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 a reward.

Previous stories: Missing Person Advocate Says Law Enforcement Turned on Her in Missing Mount Dora Mom Case – Inside Lake

Feds: More than 2 Dozen Child Porn Images and Videos Found on Phone Seized in Missing Mount Dora Mom Case; Husband Planned to Move to North Carolina – Inside Lake

Husband of Missing Mount Dora Mom Being Held on Federal Charges – Inside Lake

Husband of Missing Mount Dora Woman Taken into Custody Thursday Morning – Inside Lake

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

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 – Inside Lake

3 Weeks and Still No Sign of Missing Mount Dora Mom – Inside Lake

Mount Dora Woman Missing a Week, Daughter Wants Answers – Inside Lake

Multiple law enforcement agencies search for missing Mount Dora mom Saturday Read More »

Teen arrested for killing family cat in dryer Monday

MINNEOLA, Fla.—A teenager is facing a charge of animal cruelty—excessively cruel, after putting the family cat in the dryer and killing it, according to an arrest affidavit.

Shortly before 6 p.m. Monday, Lake County Sheriff’s Office deputies responded to a home on Plum Lake Drive in Minneola on a report of a suspicious incident. When they arrived, the mother of Cayden Mikkel Williams told a deputy her son had just killed the family cat, named “Mouse” by putting it in the dryer.

She said when she was coming into the neighborhood with her other children, she saw Williams walking and he motioned for her to stop. She rolled the window down and Williams reportedly said, “So Mouse…” She replied, “what?” and Williams responded, “so he was in the dryer,” the affidavit states.

She returned home and found Mouse the cat lying on top of the dryer wrapped in a piece of fabric, dead. Mouse had blood coming from its nose and its ears were burnt and Williams’ clothes were on the floor in front of the dryer. She told the deputy the dryer has a 70-minute timer and there were approximately 30 minutes left on the timer, indicating Mouse was in the dryer for possibly 40 minutes, according to the affidavit, and after a brief argument Williams left.

The deputy observed dried blood all over the inside of dryer, he noted in the affidavit.

Williams’ mother told the deputy they buried Mouse by his favorite bush in the yard and the deputy called LCSO Animal Control and they exhumed Mouse’s remains for evidence, according to the affidavit. Williams, who will turn 17 on Friday, came back home and told the deputy he knew why deputies were speaking to him and he said he put his clothes in the dryer and did not see Mouse or hear him making any sounds or a banging noise after he started the dryer.

Williams also told the deputy he did not want his mother or siblings to be loud after they found out Mouse was dead because he did not want law enforcement to be notified, the affidavit states.

Williams was arrested, transported to the Lake County Jail and turned over to the Department of Juvenile Justice.

 

 

Teen arrested for killing family cat in dryer Monday Read More »

Man suspected of battering woman at Eustis grocery store apprehended Thursday

EUSTIS, Fla.—A man who was wanted for battery by one law enforcement agency and wanted for questioning by another was apprehended Thursday by Eustis Police Department.

According to an arrest affidavit, Deon Otis Grant, 18, was arrested for simple battery stemming from an incident Sunday at Winn Dixie, 1955 North State Road 19, Eustis. Around 5 p.m. EPD responded to the grocery store after the victim reported she was “inappropriately touched,” by a black male, later identified as Grant. She told officers she arrived at the store around 4:30 p.m. and noticed Grant “wandering” around the store without a shopping cart, which she thought was “strange.”

The victim finished her shopping and went to her vehicle to put her groceries away; Grant came up behind her and touched her buttocks “forcefully” with one hand. He then fled, running westbound through the parking lot and southbound on State Road 19. The victim said Grant never spoke to her, the affidavit states.

Police canvassed the area for Grant and were unable to find him. Surveillance video from Winn Dixie showed him walking into the store with a yellow bag and officers went to a nearby Dollar General store and obtained better footage of him in that store.

On Wednesday, Mount Dora Police Department released a “crime bulletin” with a photo of Grant taken from Target surveillance video. The bulletin stated Grant was taking photos of women at Target, 17450 U.S. Highway 441, Mount Dora. According to the bulletin, Target employees had been “aware of his presence for several weeks” and had asked him to leave the premises. Taking photos of someone in public is not a crime, but MDPD wanted to speak with him because his behavior was a “cause for concern.” Grant is not facing any criminal charges in Mount Dora, according to MDPD Spokesperson Misty Sommer, but he has been trespassed from Target.

EPD followed with its own bulletin Thursday and in a matter of hours, Grant was identified and taken into custody, EPD Sgt. Paul Barnett told Inside Lake.

“Patrol did a great job tracking him down,” Barnett said.

Shortly before 7:30 p.m. Thursday, a tipster called EPD and stated a man fitting Grant’s description was walking in the area of the Exxon gas station at State Road 19 and County Road 452, officers responded to the scene and spotted Grant. They approached him and identified him as the man in MDPD’s crime bulletin and Dollar General’s video surveillance. Grant was detained and admitted he was the man in both the crime bulletin and Dollar General’s surveillance video. When questioned about Winn Dixie, Grant invoked his right to an attorney, according to the affidavit. He was arrested for simple battery and transported to the Lake County Jail, where he is being held on $1,000 bond. Grant has no prior criminal history, according to the affidavit.

 

Man suspected of battering woman at Eustis grocery store apprehended Thursday Read More »

Tavares double stabbing suspect turns himself in to US Marshals Tuesday

TAVARES, Fla.—The man accused of stabbing a father and son Sunday was taken into custody Tuesday by U.S. Marshals, according to Tavares Police Department.

Daryl Shack, Jr., 34, is accused of stabbing Frederick “Lee” Crawford II, 55, and Frederick “Trey” Crawford, 30, around 2 p.m. Sunday. Both victims were airlifted to local hospitals for treatment and the elder Crawford is in critical condition and his son is in critical, but stable condition, TPD Spokesperson Courtney Sullivan told Inside Lake.

Shack fled the scene following the double-stabbing and TPD obtained a warrant for his arrest the same night. Shack agreed to turn himself in to the U.S. Marshals Tuesday at a gas station in Tavares. He was then turned over to TPD detectives for questioning, Sullivan said.

Police have not released a motive but said it was an “isolated incident between the victims and the suspect.”

“This is a perfect example of great police work,” Sullivan said. “We had a suspect identified and confirmed within hours and took quick action to take him into custody.”

Shack is facing two counts of attempted murder and is being held at the Lake County Jail on no bond.

Previous story: Father and son stabbed in Tavares Sunday, suspect on the run – Inside Lake

Tavares double stabbing suspect turns himself in to US Marshals Tuesday Read More »

Former teacher found guilty of sexually battering foreign exchange student in ’23

TAVARES, Fla.—A former high school teacher has been found guilty of sexually battering a foreign exchange student last year, along with other charges related to the incident.

A Lake County jury found Dmitri V. Kostyunina, 51, guilty of contributing to the delinquency of a minor, delivery of cannabis to a person under 18 and sexual battery last week in Tavares, according to Fifth Judicial Circuit State Attorney Bill Gladson’s office.

Kostyunina was employed as a science teacher at Apopka High School when he was arrested in October 2023 after the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) contacted Mount Dora Police Department and stated a “sexual incident” occurred at Kostyunina’s home in Mount Dora. The victim told authorities that Kostyunina gave him marijuana edibles and alcohol and performed sex acts on the boy in two different rooms in his home in September 2023. The boy, from Italy, had been staying with Kostyunina since August as part of a foreign exchange student program, Gladson’s office said. The boy’s age has never been released.

During an interview, Kostyunina admitted giving the boy THC edibles, wine and beer and claimed he “blacked out” and woke up to evidence of a sexual encounter, and “he knew he made a mistake,” his arrest affidavit states.

“Kostyunin’s actions not only violated the trust placed in him but also endangered the well-being of a child within our community,” Gladson said. “Instead of being able to learn abroad, make lasting friendships, and take in some of the amazing things our country has to offer, those experiences and memories will forever be tarnished because of Kostyunin.”

Kostyunina has been held in the Lake County Jail on no bond since his arrest; he will be sentenced at a later date.

Previous story: Apopka High School Teacher Admits Giving THC Edibles and Alcohol to Child Prior to “Sexual Incident” in Mount Dora – Inside Lake

Former teacher found guilty of sexually battering foreign exchange student in ’23 Read More »

Father and son stabbed in Tavares Sunday, suspect on the run

TAVARES, Fla.—A father and son were both airlifted to local hospitals Sunday afternoon after being stabbed during an argument, according to Courtney Sullivan, Tavares Police Department Public Information Officer.

TPD responded to an “unknown medical call” in the 700 block of North Disston Avenue shortly before 2 p.m. Sunday. When they arrived, they found Frederick “Lee” Crawford II, 55, and Frederick “Trey” Crawford III, 30, suffering from stab wounds, and both men were airlifted for treatment.

“Lee” Crawford was in extremely critical condition at press time with life-threatening injuries and “Tray” Crawford was in critical condition, Sullivan said.

The suspect fled the scene and has not been identified publicly, “We are following leads and asking anyone with information to reach out,” Sullivan said. Police have not released a motive.

If you have information on today’s double stabbing, call TPD at 352-343-2101.

Father and son stabbed in Tavares Sunday, suspect on the run Read More »

Scroll to Top