Monday, February 21, 2022

DNA Unable to Determine Killer

Some disturbing news has been uncovered about a former Okeechobee and Glades County deputy and police officer who died in 2008. Charles Murphy of WOKC reports:  James Howard Harrison has officially been named the only probable suspect in the murder of 11-year-old Laura Ann Huizer (Wiser) in St. Lucie County, according to Sheriff Ken Mascara. Detective Paul Taylor says the initial assumption in the case was that the murderer was a traveler. Chief Deputy Brian Hester also weighed in on the shocking discovery. DNA could not be matched due to the degradation of the suspect’s body. Deputies say part of their evidence was Harrison admitted to seeing the victim and told two witnesses to leave the scene when the body was found. 

Endagered Panther Found Dead

An endangered Florida panther has died from being hit by a vehicle. It’s the seventh panther death attributed to fatal collisions, out of seven total deaths this year, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. The remains of the 1-year-old female panther were found Friday along a rural road southwest of Clewiston in Hendry County. A total of 27 Florida panthers were found dead last year, with 21 deaths attributed to vehicles, according to state records. That was up from 22 total deaths in 2020. Florida panthers once roamed the entire Southeast, but now their habitat mostly is confined to a small region of Florida along the Gulf of Mexico. Up to 230 Florida panthers remain in the wild.

Okeechobee Man Commits Suicide Amid Investigation

A man at the center of a local child porn investigation is dead, according to our news affiliate. On Tuesday, the Okeechobee County Sheriff’s Office executed a search warrant at an address in Okeechobee. This investigation started when the sheriff’s office received a tip that someone at that address uploaded child pornography to an online server. While executing the warrant, the target of the investigation, 68-year-old Richard Sheetz, was found dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Detectives on the scene confirmed child sexual abuse material on the suspect’s computer. There is no evidence to suggest that any local children are victims.

Agency Feeds the Manatees as the Masses Die of Starvation

Florida’s manatees — which are dying at an alarming rate, largely from starvation — are being treated to tons of lettuce a week as part of a new feeding program. An average of 350 manatees a day are now coming to eat the greens being distributed at a temporary field response station in Cape Canaveral, according to officials from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC). Officials said they have increased the amount of food they are distributing to roughly 20,000 pounds of vegetation a week, primarily romaine and butter leaf lettuce. This year there have been 261 manatee deaths in the state, according to FWC data updated February 11.

Sexual Predator Notification 

In accordance with Chapter 775 of the Florida Statutes, the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office is advising the public about a declared Sexual Predator, Kenneth Craig, Birth: 11/27/1968, who is now residing at 104 Pelican Lake Drive, Pahokee, FL 33476-3101.   

Director of EFEC in Belle Glade is 2nd Woman to Take Position in 100 Years

Samira Daroub, an internationally acclaimed soil and water scientist and professor, has been named director of the UF/IFAS Everglades Research & Education Center (EREC). Daroub becomes the second woman in the history of the 100-year-old center to take the helm. Located in Belle Glade, the center’s campus includes offices, laboratories, greenhouses, a 700-acre research farm, residential dormitories, and housing for graduate students and visiting scientists, all in the heart of the Everglades Agricultural Area (EAA). Congratulations to Samira Daroub, new Director of the EFEC in Belle Glade. Her appointment is effective immediately.