News Cast 01/24

Escaped prisoner Timothy Howton McLaughlin is now in custody after escaping from Okeechobee Correctional Institution in a facility vehicle yesterday. Thanks to some witnesses and the Indian River Sheriffs Office, the 28 year old was apprehended walking the streets barefoot. The stolen vehicle was also recovered in the area of Vero Beach. WAFC reached out to both OCI as well as the Okeechobee Sheriffs Office. Neither agency was available for comment. 

Clewiston High School had Artha Jonassaint, a current Harvard student and Okeechobee High alumna, give a presentation to the students last week. Miss Jonassaint graduated from Okeechobee high school in 2018, and was Florida Future Farmers of America (FFA) President, and began attending Harvard in the Fall of 2019. In her presentation she shared with students the benefits of attending Harvard and discussed Harvard’s Academic programs, campus and dorm life, and financial aid. She also discussed the importance of students’ college essays conveying their passions. She emphasized the importance of good grades and test scores, as well as taking advantage of and learning from leadership opportunities. She told the students they should focus their extra time on a club, organization, or a cause they care about and to do something special with or for that organization. Clewiston High School freshmen, Jalyn Porth and Maria Tady, said that they came away feeling like attending Harvard was a goal that they could attain because Miss Jonassaint graduated from a local high school not very different from CHS.

A Lehigh Acres man, convicted in 2018 of domestic battery, allegedly violated his probation and is now, on the run. Southwest Florida Crime Stoppers is calling on the public to help them find Atmaram Persaud, 21. Crime Stoppers says, Persaud of beat a pregnant woman in front of a 2-year-old.  Persaud was booked for aggravated battery on a pregnant woman in September 2018 and bonded out two months later. He was found guilty in November. According to court documents, after his arrests in Lee County, Persaud moved to Orlando. He allegedly moved again without telling his probation officer. Anyone who gives Crime Stoppers a tip that leads to Persaud’s arrest could get a reward up to $3,000. Tips are kept anonymous. If Persaud gets arrested again, this time he will be held in the Lee County Jail without bond. 

Moore Haven will host the annual Chalo Nitka Big Bass Tournament Saturday, Feb. 29, at Alvin Ward Park. The tournament will get underway from sunrise until 1 p.m. Entry fee is $25 per person. There is no age limit and anyone can fish, but each person on the boat must pay the entry fee. Cash payouts are guaranteed. The first place prize is $1,000, second $800, third $600, down to $50 for seventh place. There’s a mystery gift for Lucky 13th place. The angler weighing in the biggest bass and wearing a 2020 Chalo Nitka T-shirt will win an additional $100. A Critter Division is sponsored by Ahern’s Shell Service Center and Convenience Store, giving the angler who brings in the largest mudfish, gar or catfish the chance to win $100.