Tavares

Joyride in Stolen SUV lasts less than 15 Minutes, Suspect Runs and is Tased by Tavares Police

TAVARES, Fla.—A joyride in a stolen SUV did not last long for a Tavares man early Wednesday morning when Tavares Police Department apprehended the man less than 15 minutes after he stole it, according to a report.

Just before 3:30 a.m. Wednesday, a woman reported that while she was feeding cats at Circle K, 439 South Duncan Drive, an unknown black male jumped out of a tan SUV and hopped into her red 2021 Chevrolet Tahoe and drove off. TPD responded to the scene and officers began canvassing the area, along with officers from Astatula Police Department and Lake County Sheriff’s Office deputies.

Less than15 minutes later, a TPD corporal spotted the Tahoe parked in a field off Lona Street and saw a man, later identified as Trevon Marques Williams, 27, walking toward him. He ordered Williams to stop, and he fled on foot. The TPD corporal deployed his taser and struck Williams in the back, causing him to fall on a plastic chair and then on his back, the report states.

A group of people then showed up on the scene and they were detained while officers completed their investigation. The woman driving the tan SUV Williams jumped out of at Circle K was among those detained; she told officers she picked Williams up from Rosewood Apartments and took him to the store to buy blunts. She said he got out of her vehicle and jumped in the Tahoe and left. Inside Lake is not naming her because she was not charged with a crime.

Williams denied stealing the Tahoe and when the victim arrived on scene to retrieve her vehicle, she told police her phone and $135 was missing from the console. When Williams was searched, he was found with the money in the same denominations the victim described to police, according to the report. Her phone was found lying in the middle of Lona Street.

Williams was arrested for grand theft of a motor vehicle, resisting arrest and petit theft. He was transported to the Lake County Jail, where he is being held on $4,500 bond.

Joyride in Stolen SUV lasts less than 15 Minutes, Suspect Runs and is Tased by Tavares Police Read More »

Man Shot in November Pleads No Contest to Lying to Mount Dora Cops

MOUNT DORA, Fla.—A man who was a victim of a shooting, has pleaded no contest to a charge of filing a false report after Mount Dora Police Department determined he and his ex-girlfriend lied about the location where he was shot in November, according to a probable cause affidavit.

Around 3:30 p.m. Nov. 13, shots rang out at Rosewood Condominiums in Tavares, terrifying parents and a school bus full of children that had pulled into the parking lot; Rosewood has been the site of several shootings and violent crimes in recent years.

“This occurred during a time frame when children were being dropped off,” Tavares Police Department Public Information Officer Courtney Sullivan told Inside Lake in November. “This is a residential neighborhood.”

TPD responded to the scene and began searching for a victim and evidence and while they were investigating, Amarion Saucier, 21, showed up at AdventHealth Waterman in Tavares with his then-girlfriend, Josey Neat, 21. Saucier was suffering a gunshot wound to the buttocks.

Saucier and Neat told TPD Saucier was shot at Cauley Lott Park in Mount Dora and TPD requested Mount Dora Police Department’s assistance. A lieutenant with MDPD checked footage from cameras mounted in Cauley Lott Park and found no indication a shooting occurred there.

“In fact, children were observed playing on the swings, riding scooters and playing basketball within the 50-minute time frame of the recording,” an MDPD detective noted in the affidavit. “It is clear there was no shooting incident at the intersection of Highland Street and Pine Avenue inside Cauley Lott Park.”

The MDPD detective responded to the hospital to interview Saucier and Neat and when he arrived a TPD captain told him he warned the couple they could be arrested for giving a false statement to law enforcement, the affidavit states.

Tavares Police Department responds to a shooting at Rosewood Condominiums in November. Courtesy photo

Saucier and Neat told the detective the shooting did occur at Cauley Lott Park when he interviewed them separately. He told Neat the video surveillance from Cauley Lott Park did match her story and, “she insisted her story was true,” the affidavit states.

A warrant was issued for both Saucier and Neat Nov. 16, 2023, for false information to a law enforcement officer and they were picked up two months later on Jan. 16 when Neat called the police on Saucier. In that incident, she told MDPD she went to her now ex-boyfriend Saucier’s apartment in Spring Harbor Apartments in Mount Dora with her brother and another woman to get a phone for her daughter. Neat said the pair got into a verbal alteration and Saucier threatened to shoot her vehicle several times, though she did not see a weapon. Saucier then broke her window trying to get to Neat’s brother, according to Saucier’s arrest affidavit in that case.

When officers ran their names, they found Neat and Saucier had warrants and they were both taken into custody. Neat was released the following day on $1,000 bond. Saucier, was arrested for an additional charge of burglary for breaking the window and has since pleaded no contest to the false information charge. He is currently serving his sentence in the Lake County Jail; the burglary case remains open.

TPD continues to investigate the November shooting.

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Incident with Barricaded Mount Dora Man Ends Peacefully

MOUNT DORA, Fla.—An incident with a barricaded subject in Mount Dora came to a peaceful end about seven hours after it started Sunday night.

A man, who has not been identified publicly, was having a mental health crisis and barricaded himself in a building at Hammock Oaks Apartments, 3550 Lake Center Drive, Mount Dora, shortly before 5 p.m. Sunday.

Mount Dora Police Department responded to the scene and Tavares Police Department and the Lake County Sheriff’s Office assisted, City of Mount Dora Spokesperson Misty Sommer said, and some residents were evacuated from their homes.

The ordeal lasted until nearly midnight and ended with  a “peaceful resolution” and the subject was taken into custody, Sommer said. No other details were available at press time.

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Barricaded Subject Forces Mount Dora Residents Out of Their Homes

Update: Incident with Barricaded Mount Dora Man Ends Peacefully – Inside Lake

MOUNT DORA, Fla.—At least three law enforcement agencies are on scene at a Mount Dora apartment complex due to a barricaded subject.

Mount Dora Police Department, Tavares Police Department and the Lake County Sheriff’s Office responded to Hammock Oaks Apartments, 3550 Lake Center Drive, Mount Dora in reference to a subject having a “mental health crisis,” shortly before 5 p.m. TPD Public Information Officer Courtney Sullivan told Inside Lake.

Some residents were evacuated from their homes,” City of Mount Dora Spokesperson Misty Sommer said.

“We believe he’s isolated, Sullivan said. “We’re ensuring the safety of the residents.”PHOTO: Marilyn M. Aciego/Inside Lake

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Missing Person Advocate Says Law Enforcement Turned on Her in Missing Mount Dora Mom Case

TAVARES, Fla.—There has been another twist in the case of missing Mount Dora mom Nicole Baldwin.

Early Friday morning, Mount Dora Police Department and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement executed a search warrant for electronics at the Tavares home of Terri Rogers, the woman who has organized search parties for Baldwin and gathered information in the case.

Rogers’ involvement in the case began about a week after Baldwin went missing, partially because Baldwin’s case is what Rogers calls “eerily similar” to her missing niece’s case. Rogers is the aunt of Tonya Whipp, a woman who has been missing in Polk County since last summer and told Inside Lake she was compelled to get involved in Baldwin’s case. Baldwin, who is from Germany, does not have family in the United States, other than her children and husband, and Rogers said she advocated for Baldwin because she did not have anyone else to do it for her. Soon after Inside Lake published its first article on the case, Rogers reached out to Baldwin’s oldest daughter Alisha to get flyers out and get her face out to the public, she told Inside Lake.

Rogers developed a relationship with Alisha and has spoken to her sporadically and even helped her move some things out of a storage unit. Rogers said Alisha has never told her she is involved in any way or given her any clue as to what may have happened to Baldwin.

Nicole Baldwin, left, and her daughter, Alisha, right are seen here in this undated photo,. Photo courtesy of Alisha Baldwin

Baldwin vanished in early November and was reported missing to MDPD. MDPD has remained tight-lipped throughout its investigation, leaving many questions unanswered. Inside Lake has asked numerous questions about the case but MDPD has revealed very little. The home where Baldwin lived on Strathmore Circle was searched by MDPD, FDLE and Lake County Sheriff’s Office crime scene investigators on Nov. 28 and has been searched several times since.

On Dec. 14, Baldwin’s husband, Brett, was arrested on federal child pornography charges as investigators found child sexual abuse material (CSAM) on a phone that was seized during the investigation. He continues to be held in the Marion County Jail on those charges.

In addition to the four community searches Rogers has organized, she has spent hours each day searching for Baldwin on her own or with a smaller team of two to three people. She has walked miles in wooded areas from Leesburg to Mount Dora looking for any trace of the mom of three.

Rogers provided a copy of the search warrant to Inside Lake and law enforcement apparently believes Baldwin is dead, as the warrant states Rogers’ electronics may be “evidence of or evidence relevant to proving” second degree murder.

Inside Lake asked MDPD why they would execute a search warrant on someone who has seemingly been forthcoming and helpful to its investigation and the city’s spokesperson responded with this text, “Court orders are approved by the State Attorney and the Court of Law. MDPD executed a lawful search warrant to continue the search for missing person Nicole Baldwin. The status of the investigation is ongoing.”

Rogers said an agent with FDLE told her they were confiscating her electronics because they believed she was hiding something and “protecting Alisha.” Rogers said she has been communicating with this agent for months and has always given her any information Rogers believes is pertinent to finding Baldwin. Rogers has screenshots of text messages she said were between her and the agent showing the agent gave her particular areas to search and a message stating Alisha had been “cleared,” she said

Rogers said she thought there was a trusting relationship between her and the agent, but after being surprised with the search warrant, she is upset and angry.

“All they had to do was ask and I would have given them my phone. I’m not hiding anything,” she told Inside Lake. “Hook me up to a lie detector test!”

Just before Christmas 2021, Rogers was the victim of a house fire and lost three dogs to smoke inhalation and the experience was extremely traumatic for Rogers. After the fire she rescued more dogs and purchased indoor cameras so she could keep an eye on them when she left her home.

“They have taken that ability from me; I feel like a prisoner in my own house. I’m not comfortable leaving my home if I can’t check on my rescue dogs,” Rogers told Inside Lake.

This forced Rogers to cancel a community search for Baldwin scheduled for Sunday.

She told Inside Lake her anxiety is off the charts now and she is in fear of law enforcement. Rogers feels she now needs legal counsel and her best friend has started a fundraising campaign to help with legal fees, to donate to the fundraising campaign, click here Missing Person Advocate Unjustly Targeted.

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Woman Found on Tavares High Campus Last Year Accused of New Crimes Involving Minor

TAVARES, Fla.—A woman arrested last year after being found on the Tavares High School campus has been arrested again, this time for crimes involving a minor.

Dakota Marie Adams, 21, was first arrested Aug. 25, 2023, after a Lake County Sheriff’s Office school resource deputy received a tip she was on the THS campus in the middle of the school day. The SRD located Adams and she said was 19 years old and a senior at the school. She also told the SRD she did not have her license, but he found it in her wallet, and she was arrested for trespassing and giving false information to law enforcement.

The arrest affidavit in that case did not state why Adams was on campus, but a subsequent report related to Adams’ latest arrest, obtained only by Inside Lake, revealed the reason.

Just three days after Adams’ first arrest, a man came to Tavares Police Department and reported he believed his minor daughter was engaged in sexual activities with Adams. The man told TPD he received a call from the THS SRD who told him Adams “snuck” on campus and pretended to be a student to see the man’s daughter and Adams had been arrested for her misdeeds. The man told TPD he started his own investigation and discovered Adams and the girl were in a romantic relationship.

He said he first believed Adams was male minor because she “identifies as a male,” and said he saw Adams’ arrest posted in the Facebook group Tavares Word of Mouth and many people commented stating Adams had a history of preying on minors. Other comments alleged Adams frequented Wooton Park and provided narcotics and alcohol to minors she met at the park. The man told police once he found out Adams was in fact an adult female, he took his daughter’s phone and found multiple intimate messages, nude photos and videos of Adams, and videos of the minor “partaking in the use of marijuana,” along with Adams smoking and consuming alcohol, the report states.

He also said he believed Adams was “grooming” the girl and they had been engaged in sexual activity. The girl denied any sexual activity occurred and said “hugging” and “holding hands” were the only physical activities they participated in.

The case was turned over to the TPD’s criminal investigations division (CID) and detectives began their investigation.

While TPD detectives were investigating and awaiting the results of forensic searches and the completion of forensic interviews, Adams’ arrest for trespassing on the THS campus and false information to a law enforcement officer was making its way through the court system. On Sept. 26, 2023, Adams pleaded guilty to both charges and was sentenced to six months probation with early termination upon completion of special conditions. According to court documents, Adams was ordered to undergo a psycho-sexual evaluation and any recommended treatment.

Adams’ probation was terminated early on Dec. 12, 2023, and just two days later, a warrant for her arrest was issued for transmission of harmful material to a minor, contributing to the delinquency of a minor and unlawful use of a two-way communication device. She was booked into the Lake County Jail Friday morning and is being held on $9,000 bond.

Previous story: Woman, 21, Caught on Tavares High Campus and Lied About Being a Student, Deputies Say – Inside Lake

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Embattled Tavares Condo Complex Site of 2 Serious Incidents New Years Day

TAVARES, Fla.—Two separate incidents at an embattled condominium complex kept Tavares Police Department busy in the early hours of the new year Monday.

In the first incident, TPD responded to Rosewood Condominiums around 2:30 a.m. Monday in reference to a kidnapping, and when they arrived, they found four males walking northbound on West Rosewood Lane. The males were identified as Keshaun Terrell Pearce, 21, Omar Torray Alexander-Graham, 17, and Korrell D’Mon Walker, 17. The fourth male was visibly upset and crying and looked, “as if he was begging for help,” the arresting officer noted in a report. He was separated from the group for questioning and identified as the victim.

Pearce, who is known to carry firearms, admitted he was armed, and an officer removed a loaded 9mm Taurus handgun from the pocket of his hoodie. He told TPD he was walking with the group to an unidentified juvenile female’s residence due to the victim allegedly having a sexual relationship with the girl. He said he might have “roughed him up,” prior to the walk, He later told police he grabbed the victim by the collar, but never hit him and said the victim got into an altercation earlier in Mount Dora. Alexander-Graham, who was armed with a .40 caliber Smith & Wesson, was detained and placed into the back of a patrol vehicle and Walker was detained and put into the back of another patrol vehicle; he told police he witnessed a physical altercation between Pearce and the victim and said the gun he was carrying was dropped by the victim as they walked to the juvenile female’s home.

Walker saw the group walking and joined them, he told police, and said he only knew the victim was having an alleged relationship with the female and denied seeing anything else. He told police he was looking at his phone the whole time. Walker was searched and officers found a small amount of marijuana in his pocket and a phone he dropped at the scene.

The victim, who Inside Lake is not identifying, told officers he was at a party in Mount Dora with Pearce, and they left and went to a residence on West Rosewood Lane. While there, the victim said he got into an argument with Pearce about the alleged relationship with the juvenile female and Pearce got angry and punched the victim in the face. He said Pearce grabbed him and told him they were going to talk to the girl’s mother. The victim told police he complied because he was in fear and the group, including Alexander-Graham, Walker and an unidentified person, began walking toward the juvenile female’s home, according to the report.

The victim told police as they walked through Rosewood Condominiums, Walker was holding his arm, and the unidentified person took his phone. He said he tried to leave several times and yelled for help, but Alexander-Graham told him to be quiet, or else he would be shot, using multiple references for being shot and Pearce told him to keep moving and put a gun to his back. They arrived at the female’s home, and her mother was not there, he told police.

They left and were soon approached by TPD.

Pearce, Alexander-Graham and Walker were all arrested for kidnapping and are each facing additional charges. Pearce was also arrested for battery, inflicting bodily harm or terrorizing a victim, aggravated assault and possession of a firearm in commission of a felony; Walker is also charged with battery and possession of marijuana and Alexander-Graham is facing two additional charges involving the gun—carrying a concealed firearm and possession of a firearm in commission of a felony.

Pearce is being held in the Lake County Jail on $68,000. Alexander-Graham and Walker were turned over to the Department of Juvenile Justice.

Less than two hours later, TPD responded to a neighborhood near Rosewood Condominiums in reference to a man being “jumped.” He told police he was hanging out with two women in Mount Dora, earlier in the evening and was planning on going to a condo in Rosewood with one of them. The other woman got mad and took off walking. The victim and the other woman tried to find her but were unsuccessful and went to the condo in Tavares. After they arrived the victim and the woman who took off on foot got into an argument on the phone and the victim called her a name. She responded to the name calling by saying, “Oh, you (expletive) now, you (expletive) now,” according to the report.

Approximately 30 to 40 minutes later, two men showed up at the condo, kicked the door in and began beating the victim, so he ran out the back door, jumped several fences and finally ended up at a home in a nearby neighborhood. Tavares Fire Department and Lake EMS responded to tend to his wounds and although the victim said he did believe a weapon was involved, Lake EMS told police his injuries were consistent with a “bladed weapon,” due to the cleanliness and severity of the wounds. He was transported by ground to Orlando Regional Medical Center.

“we’re investigating if the two incidents are related, but at this time we don’t believe they are,” TPD Public Information Officer Courtney Sullivan said.

Embattled Tavares Condo Complex Site of 2 Serious Incidents New Years Day Read More »

Tavares Police Identify Pedestrian Killed on U.S. Highway 441 Friday Night

TAVARES, Fla.—Tavares Police Department has identified the man killed on U.S. Highway 441 Friday night.

According to witnesses and TPD’s preliminary investigation, around 8 p.m., Renald Guay, 67, of New Hampshire, was standing in the median of U.S. Highway 441, also known as Burleigh Boulevard, near Lake Eustis Drive, when he began to jaywalk across the highway, TPD Public Information Officer Courtney Sullivan said.

He was struck by a white 2014 Lincoln SUV traveling in a southbound lane and being driven by Merle Somers, 50, of Tavares. Somers and her passenger were not injured.  “The vehicle occupants remained on scene and cooperated with investigators,” Sullivan told Inside Lake.

Guay was transported to a local hospital, where he later died. The crash closed the southbound lanes of U.S. Highway 441/Burleigh Boulevard for several hours.

Previous story: Pedestrian Struck and Killed on U.S. Highway 441 in Tavares Friday Night, Southbound Lanes Shut Down – Inside Lake

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Missing Kayaker Found Alive on Lake Eustis

EUSTIS, Fla.—The missing kayaker authorities were searching for on Lake Eustis has been found alive, according to Eustis Police Chief Craig Capri.

“His kayak capsized and the (Lake County Sheriff’s Office) Marine Unit found him floating in the middle of the lake,” Capri told Inside Lake. LCSO’s helicopter, Eagle One, also searched for the man, along with Eustis Fire Department.

Previous story: Authorities Searching for Missing Kayaker on Lake Eustis – Inside Lake

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Authorities Searching for Missing Kayaker on Lake Eustis

Update: Missing Kayaker Found Alive on Lake Eustis – Inside Lake

EUSTIS, Fla.—Authorities are searching for a missing kayaker on Lake Eustis.

The man, who was not publicly identified, was last seen Thursday afternoon when he launched the kayak from his home on Lake Eustis, according to Eustis Police Chief Craig Capri. Eustis Fire Department is searching the water with its boat, along with the Lake County Sheriff’s Office Marine Unit and LCSO’s helicopter, Eagle One. Residents near the lake are being asked to look around their property for any sign of the man and call 911 if they find anything.

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