Minneola

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.

 

 

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Man apologizes for having sex with minor in recorded phone call, facing 13 charges

MINNEOLA, Fla.— An elementary school custodian was arrested last week after an underage girl told her guardian she had sex with him a few days before, according to an arrest affidavit.

The girl told Lake County Sheriff’s Office detectives James Pacheco, 19, of Minneola, told her he was 17 years old and a student in Groveland after they began communicating in January after meeting on Snapchat. On March 12, the girl, whose age is redacted from the affidavit, went to Pacheco’s Minneola home where they had consensual sex, she said. She said the encounter was painful, but she did not tell him to stop and after they were finished, she spent the night. The next morning when he attempted to touch her again, she said, no, because she was in pain and Pacheco told her to leave. She left using a rideshare company and Pacheco messaged her, told her he wanted to “breakup” and blocked her on his social media accounts, according to the affidavit.

The girl said Pacheco sent her numerous sexual photos and videos while they were communicating between January and March, and in a recorded phone call Pacheco apologized to girl for having sex with her and lying about his age. Detectives then executed a search warrant at Pacheco’s home at 913 White Oak Way, Minneola and found several pieces of evidence, including bed coverings and his phone.

Detectives interviewed Pacheco and he admitted sending sexually explicit videos and photos to the girl and directed detectives to more evidence. He also said he was sorry and knew what he did was wrong, the affidavit states.

Pacheco was arrested for three counts of lewd or lascivious battery and 10 counts of transmission of harmful material to minors. He was transported to the Lake County Jail, where he was released on $35,000 bond.

Pacheco was employed at Minneola Charter School as a custodian, but is no longer employed there, Minneola Charter School Principal Sherry Watts told Inside Lake.

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Georgia Man Accused of Shooting Friend as they Travel on the Turnpike near Clermont Sunday Night

CLERMONT, Fla.—A Georgia man is being held in the Lake County Jail on no bond after being accused of shooting his friend as they traveled on Florida’s Turnpike late Sunday night.

The Florida Highway Patrol asked for assistance from the Lake County Sheriff’s Office around 10:30 p.m. Sunday in reference to a man stopping vehicles and asking for help. Not long after, LCSO received a 911 call from an unnamed individual stating someone was banging on their door and asking for help in unincorporated Clermont, according to an arrest affidavit.

Deputies responded to the home and found Bounmy Xayavong, who told them he was traveling south on the Turnpike with his longtime friend, a man later identified as Sergio Villanueva. The pair began arguing about an ex-girlfriend and Villanueva shot him in the upper right thigh while he was driving, he told deputies. He stopped the vehicle, got out and began running and asking for help, according to the affidavit.

Villanueva, 26, then drove away and after Xayavong was unable to find help on the Turnpike, he jumped off the roadway and went down a hill to County Road 561 to look for help. Xayavong provided the wrong name and date of birth to deputies and “seemed to be withholding information from deputies,” the arresting deputy noted in the affidavit. Deputies searched him and he was identified by a Georgia Department of Defense paper that had his name on it. They also found a key fob with a plastic tag that had an Oregon license plate number on it. After running the tag, they found it belonged to a Hertz rental car.

Deputies canvassed the Turnpike in search of evidence and a crime scene and came up empty. About three hours later, at 1:30 a.m., the LCSO Communication Center received a 911 call from a male that said, “Oh yeah,” and hung up, Deputies went to the area on Lemongrass Road to canvass the area and found a dark-colored Chevrolet parked toward the back of a home under construction. Deputies called out and Villanueva, lying on his stomach with his arms stretched out, called out from inside the home for deputies to arrest him, according to the affidavit.

They took him into custody and searched him for the gun and he “spontaneously uttered” he threw the gun because he was frightened. He took deputies to the area where he said he threw it, but they were unable to find it, the affidavit states.

Villanueva was arrested for aggravated battery, trespassing on a construction site and tampering with evidence.

Georgia Man Accused of Shooting Friend as they Travel on the Turnpike near Clermont Sunday Night Read More »

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.

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Account Established to Benefit Family of Lake Minneola High Senior Tragically Killed in School Bus Crash

MINNEOLA, Fla.—A fundraising account has been established to benefit the family of the Lake Minneola High School (LMHS) student who tragically passed away Monday.

Sherman “Isaiah” Vannoy, a 17-year-old senior, was on a bicycle when he was struck by a school bus before daylight Monday morning at the entrance of LMHS.

Mary Laurenzi, 78, of Leesburg, who was hired by Lake County Schools in November 2021, was driving the school bus southbound on Hancock Road, south of Fox Trail Avenue, in the left turn lane. Vannoy was riding a bicycle northbound on the north sidewalk of Hancock Road approaching the stop sign at the intersection. Vannoy entered the crosswalk and Laurenzi attempted to make a left turn to enter LMHS and struck Vannoy, Trooper Migdalisis Garcia said in a press release.

Laurenzi saw Vannoy in the crosswalk and swerved to the left, and the school bus collided with Vannoy and continued off the roadway and struck a stop sign and a chain-link fence, Garcia said. Vannoy was transported to South Lake Hospital where he succumbed to his injuries; Laurenzi and her passengers, a 55-year-old woman of Leesburg and an 18-year-old woman of Minneola were not injured. The crash remains under investigation.

Jennifer White, a member of Vannoy’s family, established the benefit account Tuesday morning and stated, “Sherman’s family is so thankful for the love and prayers you’ve sent their way.”

At press time, the account had raised $1,700 of its $10,000 goal; to donate click here.

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Lake County Schools Releases Name of Student Tragically Killed in School Bus Collision Monday, Grief Counselors on Campus

MINNEOLA, Fla.— Lake County Schools (LCS) has released the names of the teen and the bus driver involved in a fatal crash Monday morning at Lake Minneola High School.

Sherman Vannoy, 17, was a senior at Lake Minneola High School, Sherri Owens spokesperson for LCS told Inside Lake.

“This was a very difficult day for all of us at Lake County Schools,” Owens said in an email. “We are in touch with the family and are offering our support. We have grief counselors on campus this week for any students or faculty members who may need their services.”

The bus driver, 78-year-old Mary Laurenzi, of Leesburg, was hired in November 2021, Owens said.

The Florida Highway Patrol is investigating the crash and said Laurenzi was driving the bus southbound on Hancock Road, south of Fox Trail Avenue, in the left turn lane. Vannoy was riding a bicycle northbound on the north sidewalk of Hancock Road approaching the stop sign at the intersection. Vannoy entered the crosswalk and Laurenzi attempted to make a left turn to enter Lake Minneola High School, Trooper Migdalisis Garcia said in a press release.

Laurenzi saw Vannoy in the crosswalk and swerved to the left, and the school bus collided with Vannoy and continued off the roadway and struck a stop sign and a chain-link fence, Garcia said. Vannoy was transported to South Lake Hospital where he succumbed to his injuries. Laurenzi and her passengers, a 55-year-old woman of Leesburg and an 18-year-old woman of Minneola were not injured. The crash remains under investigation.

Lake County Schools Releases Name of Student Tragically Killed in School Bus Collision Monday, Grief Counselors on Campus Read More »

Teen Bicyclist Killed in Collision with School Bus near Lake Minneola High School

MINNEOLA, Fla.—The Florida Highway Patrol is investigating a crash that killed a 17-year-old bicyclist near Lake Minneola High School Monday morning.

“The crash occurred as the bus was turning left into the school from traveling southbound on Hancock Road,” Trooper Migdalisis Garcia told Inside Lake in an email.

The crash occurred at 6:50 a.m. near Hancock Road and Fox Trail Avenue and troopers are still investigating the sequence of events that resulted in the crash, Garcia said.

The 17-year-old Minneola boy was transported to South Lake Hospital where he was pronounced deceased. The bus driver, a 78-year-old woman from Leesburg, was not injured.

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Minneola Man Captured on Video Stealing from Several Downtown Clermont Businesses

CLERMONT, Florida—A Minneola man is behind bars after video surveillance captured him stealing from several businesses at the Montrose Street Market early Monday.

Clermont Police responded to 793 West Montrose Street after the victim reported his security cameras caught a man, later identified as Michael Jacob Mathis, 21, entering the business around 2:30 a.m. through a door that was accidentally left unlocked by a cleaner, according to an arrest affidavit.

Mathis, wearing a white hoodie and dark pants, did not cover his face or wear gloves as he made his way through the market, which houses several vendors. He stole multiple items, including two iPhones, one from Design Sushi and a second one from Brave Burger; he also stole a tip jar from Brave Burger that contained approximately $10. He stole 50 cents from The Tasty Crepes and dropped a soda can, he then grabbed a drink and a tip jar that contained $70 from Pico Bistro, the affidavit states.

The video also showed Mathis wearing “very noticeable” tan work boots and carrying a black bag with a red stripe during his crime spree.

Later the same day, the complainant’s assistant reported seeing Mathis walking down Lake Minneola Shores Road in Minneola wearing the same boots and carrying the same bag, according to the affidavit. Lake County Sheriff’s Office deputies stopped Mathis and upon running his name, they found he had a Marion County warrant for failure to appear for petit theft.

Mathis was searched and he was found with a small bag of methamphetamine, a glass pipe with residue, a cut straw and several small baggies that contained residue; he also had a small bag of marijuana, according to the affidavit.

Mathis denied being in the market but was found with the phone the belonged to Design Sushi and $72 in small denominations that would be consistent with cash in a tip jar. Mathis was arrested for burglary, four counts of petit theft, possession of methamphetamine, possession of marijuana and possession of paraphernalia. His bond on those charges is $18,000 but he is being held on a detainer for the Marion County warrant.

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Leesburg Man Accused of Shooting at Truck with 5-Year-old Child in it During Road Rage Incident on Florida’s Turnpike

OSCEOLA COUNTY, Florida—A Leesburg man is being held in the Osceola County Jail on no bond, accused of shooting a truck that contained a 5-year-old child in a road rage incident on Florida’s Turnpike Sunday, according to the Florida Highway Patrol Lt. Tara Crescenzi.

A trooper was conducting traffic enforcement in the median of Florida’s Turnpike near Kenansville shortly before 6:30 p.m. Sunday when he observed a white sedan driving recklessly and changing lanes around a white pickup truck in the northbound lanes.

The trooper made his way into traffic and watched the white car continue to improperly change lanes at speeds of more than 100 miles per hour until it was caught in traffic, according to an incident report. FHP pulled the car over and ordered the occupants to exit the vehicle. The driver, Zion Zaire Vincent Waller, 22, and his passenger, a 22-year-old woman from Minneola, exited the vehicle and Waller was immediately placed under arrest for reckless driving. His passenger was detained and placed in a patrol vehicle; Inside Lake is not naming the Minneola woman because she was not charged with a crime. Troopers began to inventory the vehicle before it was towed and discovered a Premier Firearms 556 rifle and a Glock 45 handgun in plain view, the report states.

Zion Waller is seen here in his January 2023 Lake County Jail mugshot. Waller was arrested in Lake County in January for domestic battery by strangulation and two counts of child abuse. The charges were dropped just two days before the road rage incident.

As they inventoried the car, a white pickup truck pulled up to the scene and the driver told troopers his truck had been shot by Waller and pointed to a bullet hole on the left side of the truck between the driver’s door and the passenger door. The driver said the white sedan had been driving erratically around the truck before shooting at it, while it contained him, another adult and a 5-year-old child, according to the report.

FHP questioned Waller, who said he was involved in a road rage incident with the truck several miles south and the driver of the truck pointed what appeared to be a weapon at him. Waller told troopers he feared for his life and shot one round at the truck and sped up to get away. Waller said he did not call 9-1-1 because he did not “feel safe” pulling over, the report states. His passenger, the Minneola woman, told troopers Waller shot at the truck, attempting to shoot at the tires.

A bullet hole in a truck is seen here following a road rage incident involving a Leesburg man Sunday. PHOTO: Florida Highway Patrol

The driver of the truck consented to a search and no weapons were found in the vehicle.

Waller was arrested for three counts of attempted murder, aggravated battery with a deadly weapon, shooting into an occupied vehicle, carrying a concealed firearm and reckless driving. He was transported to the Osceola County Jail, where he is being held on no bond. The occupants of the truck were not injured.

Waller was arrested in Lake County in January for domestic battery by strangulation and two counts of child abuse. The charges were dropped just two days before the road rage incident.

Leesburg Man Accused of Shooting at Truck with 5-Year-old Child in it During Road Rage Incident on Florida’s Turnpike Read More »

4 Teenagers Arrested Sunday After Mount Dora Resident Catches Their Misdeeds on Camera

MOUNT DORA, Florida—Four suspected vehicle burglars were nabbed after a resident notified Mount Dora Police Department his home security system captured them checking the door handles of at least six vehicles early Sunday morning.

MDPD responded to the area of Mount Dora Apartments, 3001 Northland Road just before 5 a.m. Sunday after receiving a 9-1-1 call from a resident who said his cameras captured four teens in an older red Toyota sedan checking door handles, according to several arrest affidavits. An officer located the suspected vehicle nearby at Epic Theaters, 2300 Spring Harbor Boulevard and blocked it in and attempted a traffic stop in the parking lot. The Toyota stopped momentarily before fleeing off the pavement and then drove into a canal, and struck a tree and surrounding brush.

MDPD ordered the occupants out of the car at gunpoint and the foursome complied and were taken into custody and separated. They were identified as J’son Rashad Cyprian, 18, of Orlando, Nickoy Orlando Brown, 16, of Ocoee, Torey Williams, 17, of Minneola, and Joseph Faudy, 15, of Orlando. Police searched the rental car and found a small bag of marijuana in the right, front passenger door pocket and a red and black SCCY 9mm handgun was found tucked under the driver’s seat. Most of the interior of the gun was replaced with aluminum foil, and the plate containing the serial number was removed, the arresting officer noted in the affidavit.

J’son Cyprian PHOTO: Lake County Sheriff’s Office

Officers found a drum magazine with 69 rounds laying on the floorboard of the front passenger seat, and two gloves and an empty holster were found in the back seat, according to the affidavit.

Cyprian, of Orlando, pleaded guilty to armed robbery less than a year ago and was adjudicated delinquent, the equivalent of a conviction for an adult. In this case, he was arrested for possession of a firearm and ammunition by a convicted felon, fleeing and eluding, altering a firearm, attempted burglary and three counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor. He is being held in the Lake County Jail on $35,000 bond.

Faudy told police he was threatened with violence if he did not participate in the burglaries; he was arrested for attempted burglary and possession of marijuana. Williams and Brown were arrested for attempted burglary. It is unclear if Brown, Faudy and Williams were released to their parents, or if they were turned over to the Department of Juvenile Justice, due to incomplete paperwork.   

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