Mount Dora

Lake County Golden Triangle Rotary awards scholarships for 2024-25 school year

MOUNT DORA—The Rotary Club of Lake County Golden Triangle awarded $26,000 in scholarships to 13 central Florida residents who are pursuing higher education degrees in the 2024-25 academic year.

The awards are based on criteria including scholastic ability, responsibility toward education and financial need with a special emphasis on community service

Morris W. Dunbar established a Nursing Scholarship in honor of his wife. The recipient is Reyna Green, a Mount Dora High School graduate, studying at the University of South Florida.

The Richard Earhart Endowment provides a scholarship to students from Mount Dora. The recipient is Kari Martinez, a Mount Dora High School graduate attending Advent Health University.

The Norma Jean Schloot Endowment funds a scholarship for students in education and agriculture. It is awarded to Hunter Taylor, a Eustis High School graduate studying at the University of Florida (UF.)

The Bill Bland Rotary Scholarship Fund helps students in finance and business, law enforcement, agriculture and technical training. College students receiving scholarships are Alysia Fritzke, University of Central Florida (UCF) and Shelby Mulholland, UF.

Eight graduating seniors also received Bland scholarships: Eustis High School graduates Reagan Baker, Auburn University; Aeyden Bedard, Florida State University and Sierra Funderburk, UCF. Mount Dora High School graduates Alex Mancilla, Lake Technical College (LTC); Trinity Mathie, UCF and Marissa Williams at LTC; Mount Dora Christian Academy graduate Bryan Schutte, Florida Institute of Technology and Hampton Dubose Academy graduate Shepard Smith, Brigham Young University.

The club funded scholarship was awarded to Paris Chambliss, a computer animation major at Ringling College of Art and Design.

“Rotary enjoys supporting our local students. Not only are they future leaders, but they are also making significant contributions in their schools and in our local community,” said Janet Porfilio Westlake, chair of the organization’s Youth Services Committee. “Observing their passion gives us hope.”

Lake County Golden Triangle Rotary awards scholarships for 2024-25 school year Read More »

Suspect in Mount Dora slayings mentally incompetent, judge rules

TAVARES, Fla.—The woman suspected of brutally murdering an elderly Mount Dora couple “is incompetent to proceed” to her murder trial due to her mental illness, Lake Circuit Judge Cary Rada ruled earlier this week.

Vickie Lynn Williams, 51,  is accused of stabbing Darryl Getman, 83, and Sharon Getman, 80. The married couple was murdered in their Waterman Village home sometime between the hours of 11 p.m. Dec. 30, 2022, and 2 a.m. Dec. 31, 2022.

After murdering the couple, Williams stole their green Kia Soul and was still driving it when she was apprehended by a Savannah Police Department officer at a Georgia Amtrak station on Jan. 2, 2023. She was indicted later that month and prosecutors were seeking the death penalty in the case that shocked the community.

Darryl and Sharon Getman were found murdered in their home Dec. 31, 2022.

A competency hearing for Williams was held earlier last week and employees at the Lake County Jail testified, in addition to two experts for the defense and one for the state. Dr. Jason Demery Ph.D., expert for the state, “expressed concerns the Defendant was malingering (faking mental illness,) and further stated he would not opine an individual is incompetent if they are malingering,” Rada’s order states, but also said he had no opinion because Williams “failed to produce reliable data,” by not participating in the interview.

“Dr. (Jeffrery) Danzinger opined the Defendant has no rational understanding of the outcomes and penalties of her case, and that she has partial factual understanding of the roles of officers of the court. Dr. Danzinger further opined that Defendant would not be able to relevantly testify because of delusional beliefs and her inability to accurately recall information. Dr. Danzinger also opined that Defendant’s ability to consult with counsel is substantially impaired.” He stated Williams is “not competent to proceed due to what is likely schizophrenia in exacerbation,” and she “should be involuntarily committed because she has been aggressive and violent in jail,” but also said it is “reasonably probable competency could be restored in 6 months,” the order states.

Vickie Lynn Williams is seen here in an earlier court appearance.

According to reports by Dr. Bushan Agharkar, also an expert for the defense, found Williams to be “mentally ill and urgent need of psychiatric hospitalization and treatment.” He testified he met with her at her cell door because she refused to meet in an attorney booth at the jail, and said Williams was wearing a suicide smock, had poor hygiene and there was liquid on the cell floor he believed to be urine. Williams did not appear to be bothered by the odor and denied it was urine, he said.

During the proceedings Williams mumbled to herself, stated her name was “Candace” and urinated on herself, her chair and the floor while handcuffed and shackled to the defense table. She was removed from the courtroom to clean herself up and she refused to change her clothes. Her attorney, Assistant Public Defender Morris Carranza waived her appearance for the rest of the hearing.

Lake Circuit Judge Cary Rada

On Monday, less than a week after the hearing, Rada rendered his decision. He stated in his order that he took all the testimony into consideration but “competent substantial evidence outweighs any concerns of malingering,” and ordered Williams be committed to the Department of Children and Families to be placed in a mental health treatment facility. He further ordered DCF to report directly to the Court on issues of competency and the need for continued commitment. Williams will remain in the treatment facility until a further order from the Court.

Previous story: State to Seek Death Penalty in Brutal Murders of Elderly Mount Dora Couple – Inside Lake

Suspect in Mount Dora slayings mentally incompetent, judge rules Read More »

Mount Dora to unveil sculpture by Joaquin Restrepo Wednesday

MOUNT DORA— The public is invited to the unveiling of “Temet Nosce,” a sculpture by international artist Joaquín Restrepo. Mount Dora Center for the Arts, in partnership with the City of Mount Dora has scheduled the unveiling for 5 p.m. Wednesday at Simpson Cove.

“Temet Nosce,” meaning “Know Thyself,” has been displayed in various countries and prominent cities around the world. Inspired by Carl Jung’s analytical psychology, the sculpture features intertwined heads that represent the complexity of identity, topped with a structure resembling a cage, symbolizing the self-imposed barriers to personal growth.

Mount Dora to unveil sculpture by Joaquin Restrepo Wednesday Read More »

FDLE arrests Mount Dora man on child pornography charges

MOUNT DORA, Fla.—A Mount Dora man is facing 10 counts of possession of child pornography following a search warrant at his Natoma Boulevard home Wednesday, according to an arrest affidavit.

Agents with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) executed a search warrant at the home of Tyler James Hammond, 29, “in furtherance of an investigation” into an electronic device at the home being used to download child pornography, the affidavit states.

During an interview, Hammond reportedly admitted he had seen child pornography files using Kik, a messaging application, on his phone that was located in his bedroom. Agents looked through the phone and found 10 files depicting children as young as 10 years old, according to the affidavit.

Hammond was arrested and transported to the Lake County Jail, where he was released on $25,000 bond.

FDLE arrests Mount Dora man on child pornography charges Read More »

Wrong-way driver busted with nitrous oxide by Tavares police

TAVARES, Fla.—A wrong-way driver who caught the attention of a Tavares Police Department officer Sunday was arrested for possession of four canisters of nitrous oxide, commonly known as “whippets,” according to a report.

Just before noon Sunday, a TPD officer was parked at Lake County Schools on Burleigh Boulevard when she spotted a grey SUV traveling eastbound in a westbound lane, causing other drivers to swerve into the median and switch lanes, a report states.

The officer activated her lights and sirens and caught up to the SUV around Banning Beach Road, where it pulled over in the middle of Burleigh Boulevard/U.S. Highway 441. She directed the driver, later identified as Kyle Tillberg, to pull over in a nearby shopping plaza.

Tillberg, who was “extremely pale” and had “constricted pupils,” the officer noted, was questioned why he was driving the wrong way and he reportedly said, he believed everyone else was driving the wrong way, the report states.

The officer asked Tillberg if he was under the influence of anything and he denied it, according to the report. He told the officer he was trying to make it to the smoke shop located in the plaza where they were stopped, but that plaza does not have a smoke shop, officer stated in the report.

Tillberg gave officers consent to search the rental vehicle he was driving and upon searching, they found nine small zip-top bags that were ripped open and empty, along with a tenth bag in a compartment under the radio; that bag contained a white, screw-on nozzle tip. Three 680-gram tanks of nitrous oxide were found on the rear floorboard behind the driver’s seat, and one was found tucked under the passenger seat; two of the four tanks were still cold to the touch, according to the report.

The officer requested a drug recognition expert (DRE) to determine if Tillberg was under the influence, and one was not available in Lake or Orange county, the report states. Tillberg, 57, of Mount Dora, was arrested for possessing nitrous oxide and transported to the Lake County Jail, where he was released on $3,000 bond.

Wrong-way driver busted with nitrous oxide by Tavares police Read More »

Mount Dora police searching for young man last seen Friday night

Update: Nathaniel Woods was found safe in Ocala. 

MOUNT DORA, Fla.—Mount Dora Police Department is seeking the public’s assistance in locating a young man who was last seen Friday night.

Nathaniel E. Woods, 23, was reported missing around 9 a.m. Sunday and was last seen Friday evening by family members, MDPD said in a missing person bulletin posted on its social media account.

Woods is described as a black male, 5 feet, 10 inches tall, 150 pounds with brown eyes, and bald. He is believed to be driving a grey Pontiac sedan, license plate 86BHZC.

If you have information on Woods’ whereabouts, call MDPD’s Criminal Investigations Unit at 352-735-7130.

Mount Dora police searching for young man last seen Friday night Read More »

Deputies investigating exchange of gunfire near Mount Dora Thursday

MOUNT DORA, Fla.—The Lake County Sheriff’s Office is investigating an incident that involved the occupants of two vehicles apparently shooting at each other Thursday afternoon in unincorporated Mount Dora.

LCSO responded to Old Eustis Road around 5 pm. Thursday after someone reported shots were fired in the area, according to a report. A witness told a deputy he was outside when he heard what he believed to be fireworks. He then saw a silver midsize sedan traveling eastbound and what appeared to be a longer style gun firing shots from behind the car at a “metallic deep blue” truck traveling westbound. He said he saw the truck pull over and a black male exited the truck and began shooting at the silver car.

A second witness told the deputy she was in her home when she heard repetitive gunfire and when she looked outside, she saw a “pearly blue” truck parked on the road and a “young black male” shooting eastbound but could not see what the male was shooting at, according to the report.

Five shell casings were found at the scene, including four 9mm casings and a single rifle casing, the report states, and a resident provided video footage of the exchange of gunfire to LCSO. A video was also provided to Inside Lake by a source who wished to remain anonymous, and asked us not to share, due to fear of retaliation. Numerous shots can be heard in the video provided to Inside Lake.

If you have information on Thursday’s incident, call LSCO at 352-343-2101.

Deputies investigating exchange of gunfire near Mount Dora Thursday Read More »

5th Annual Lake County Back the Blue (and Red) Walk scheduled for Saturday; Firefighters added this year

TAVARES, Florida—For the fifth year in a row, law enforcement and supporters will join forces for the annual Lake County Back the Blue Walk at Wooton Park Saturday morning, and this year firefighters will join the fun. 

Scheduled for 9 a.m., this is one of many law enforcement events around Lake County held in May during Law Enforcement Appreciation Month and this year, Organizer Shannon Cook wanted to add firefighters to the appreciation walk to coincide with the Lake County Board of County Commissioners proclaiming May 4 “International Firefighters’ Day” in Lake County, she told Inside Lake.

“I figured what better day to honor our heroes in red,” Cook said.

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, Cook said, 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.

Ryan Koester, son of fallen Lake County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Wayne Koester, left, and Deputy Koester’s brother Vic, right, at the 2023 Back the Blue Walk PHOTO: Shannon Cook

Cook’s 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.

Participants will meet at 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, provided by owner Randy Connor; come a little early to enjoy donuts and coffee donated by Greg Wilmore of New Life Baptist Church Leesburg. 


5th Annual Lake County Back the Blue (and Red) Walk scheduled for Saturday; Firefighters added this year 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 »

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