Bookmark and Share

rss logo Top Orlando Area Local News Stories

Source: Top Stories

Girl critical after animal attack in Cocoa, Brevard deputies say

<p> A 5-year-old girl is in critical condition after she was attacked by an animal in Cocoa, according to the Brevard County Sheriff's Office.</p><p> Deputies received a 911 call about a girl who was found hurt and bleeding at 4 p.m. Thursday on Burgess Avenue.</p><p> The girl was found in the yard with serious injuries to her body that were consistent with an animal attack, deputies said.</p><p> There were no witnesses. Deputies said the girl was airlifted to Arnold Palmer Hospital in critical condition.</p><p> The dogs that may be responsible for the attack were quarantined until a determination is made, the Sheriff's Office said.</p><p> Anyone with information regarding the attack is asked to call Agent Joe Martin, of the Brevard County Sheriff's Office, through the sheriff's communication center at 321-633-7162, or Crime Line at 800-423-TIPS (8477). Deputies said all calls to Crime Line are confidential, and callers can remain anonymous and can be eligible for a reward.</p>

Published: Fri, 31 Oct 2014 03:21:51 GMT

Women claim Casselberry police chief sexually harassed them

<p> Several women have come forward claiming Bill McNeil sexually harassed them and created a work environment that made them fear for the physical safety while he worked as police chief of Casselberry, Local 6 has learned.</p><p> The allegations caught the city manager's attention Wednesday, which prompted him to place McNeil on administrative leave and start an internal investigation.</p><p> A city spokesperson said McNeil resigned after finding out about the investigation.</p><p> In a statement sent Thursday night to Local 6, the attorney for the women said the behavior has been going on for years:</p><p> "Chief McNeil has abused his position of power over our clients, and has engaged in years of open and obvious intimidating and abusive behaviors that have detrimentally impacted our clients' emotional well-being and standing within the organization."</p><p> Carlos Burruezo cited specific examples of the sexual harassment, which include inappropriate text messages, "selfie-style" pictures of his penis and a videotape of him masturbating while using "vulgar sexual language."</p><p> "Unfortunately, this and other inappropriate behavior on the part of the chief has gone on unchecked for quite some time without any repercussions," said Burruezo.</p><p> Local 6 went to McNeil's home Thursday night to get his reaction to the claims. No one came to the door.</p><p> His neighbors said they had no idea he had resigned his position as chief, noticing his police cruiser was no longer in the driveway.</p><p> It's not clear if the city of Casselberry will respond to an invitation from the women's attorney to discuss the allegations.</p><p> Burruezo said if he does not hear back from the city, his clients will "proceed accordingly."</p>

Published: Fri, 31 Oct 2014 03:34:17 GMT

Political flyer names voters who don't vote

<p> Political flyers are nothing new, but a flyer that's landing in peoples mailboxes has some citizens steaming.</p><p> On one side, it has a picture of a waste basket and reads "Don't throw Away Your Vote."  On the other side it reads, "Every year thousands of your neighbors fail to vote.  We think it's too important. This year we are providing the names of your neighbors and their voting record.</p><p> "It's my privacy whether I vote or not," Sonia Flores said.</p><p> Flores lives in Orange County and thinks the flyer goes too far since it shows the name, address and whether the person voted in 2010, 2012 or if you've already voted this year.</p><p> "If I do decide to vote, its my personal business.   I don't think it should be displayed out there," Flores said.</p><p> The Orange County Supervisor of Elections has also heard from ticked-off citizens, but says the information on the flyers is public record.</p><p> "State law states that the voter registration list is a public record, so anybody can come in and buy a voter list," Bill Cowles said.</p><p> Speaking of public records---that's exactly what we used to find out who's sending them.</p><p> In small print the flyer reads, "Sponsored by Citizens for a Better Florida, Inc.</p><p> Local 6 looked up the organization and found it has given over $900,000 this year to Realtors Political Advocacy at 7025 Augusta National Drive in Orlando.</p><p> Local 6 found that address is the office of Florida Realtors.</p><p> Local 6 called and emailed three different people including the CEO at Florida Realtors but no one responded.</p><p> Citizens like Flores say they should stand behind what they're sending out.</p><p> "That's going to an extreme, honestly. I totally disagree with it," she said.</p>

Published: Thu, 30 Oct 2014 23:03:53 GMT

Man caught, zip-tied car burglars, Volusia County deputies say

<p> Neighbors said car break-ins are happening more often on Quay Assisi Street. However, one man not only caught two teens red-handed, he did it with zip ties.</p><p> "I happened to have a couple in my pocket still from doing the work earlier and just put them to use like I've seen on TV," said James Ridgewell.</p><p> Ridgewell was working on a boat Wednesday afternoon, then went for a dinner cruise, only to return at night to find his belongings missing from his SUV.</p><p> "Our doors were open and we got hit. I lost my iPad, iPhone, wallet and credit cards," said Ridgewell.</p><p> That's when he took it upon himself to search for the culprits and it didn't take long before he found them.</p><p> "They made a wrong turn onto the cul-de-sac and I knew to keep going straight that I had them pinned in," he said.</p><p> Ridgewell said he then held them there, using zip-ties on their hands, until police and a K-9 deputy arrived.</p><p> "We looked out the window and saw police officers and police lights. We heard a couple kids screaming," said neighbor, Sherry Larkin.</p><p> Officers arrested 18-year-old Dylan Boon and a 16-year-old boy. Ridgewell said while chasing the teens wasn't the safest thing to do, he'd do it again.</p><p> "It wasn't one of my smarter moves maybe, but at some point, we got to take the streets back too," said Ridgewell.</p><p> Boon and the 16-year-old are charged with two counts of burglary of a conveyance. Boon was also being held without bail at the Volusia County Jail on a probation violation.</p>

Published: Thu, 30 Oct 2014 22:17:15 GMT

Man arrested for purse-snatching after being chased down by good Samaritans, cops say

<p> Orange County deputies arrested a man who they say was chased down by good Samaritans after robbing a 76-year-old woman outside of a grocery store on Wednesday.</p><p> [Scroll below for full video]</p><p> John Desjardin, 24, was charged with attempted robbery and battery on a person 65 or older in the incident outside the Winn Dixie on University Boulevard.</p><p> Deputies said Desjardin approached the woman just before 3 p.m., snatched the woman's purse and tried to bike away when 10 good Samaritans chased him down and caught him, holding him until deputies arrived.</p><p> The name of the witnesses will be submitted to be honored by Sheriff Jerry Demings, according to deputies.</p><p> </p>

Published: Fri, 31 Oct 2014 03:35:18 GMT

Foreign celebrities you thought were American

<p> Some celebrities are such a part of American culture, it's easy to forget that they aren't actually American. Take a look at a list of foreign actors you thought were American.</p>

Published: Thu, 30 Oct 2014 13:10:19 GMT

Photos: Florida mug shots

<p> Here's a look at some of the individuals who have been arrested recently in the Sunshine State.</p>

Published: Thu, 30 Oct 2014 10:33:18 GMT

All Aboard Florida stop in Port Canaveral?

<p>  All Aboard Florida promises to link Orlando to Miami by rail, but some critics have been trying to derail their plans.<br/><br/>However, something could be changing that could give a big boost to the Space Coast.<br/><br/>Right now the company plans to start at Orlando International Airport, cross to the coast, then travel south down to West Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale and Miami without making any stops in Brevard County.<br/><br/>But Local 6 has learned All Aboard Florida is in talks to add a stop at Port Canaveral.<br/><br/>Canaveral Port Authority CEO John Walsh said talks to have a train station at Port Canaveral are in the beginning stages.<br/></p><p> Walsh added having a stop at the port would be huge for local restaurants and shops.<br/><br/>"I would prefer to leave the car in Orlando and come directly by train," said Scotland native Tom Bruce.<br/><br/>Bruce flew into Orlando International Airport, rented a car, and then drove to Port Canaveral where he boarded a Carnival Cruise ship. He said he wished the process would be easier for him and other tourists visiting the area.<br/><br/>Because All Aboard Florida doesn't make any stops in Brevard County, residents are upset that their tax dollars are going to a project that doesn't benefit them directly.<br/><br/>But officials hope a stop at the port could change that opinion.<br/><br/>Local 6 called several taxi and rental car companies and no one would comment on the affect this could have on their business. However, one driver said having a train station at the port would definitely hurt his employer's bottom line.<br/> </p>

Published: Thu, 30 Oct 2014 23:25:55 GMT

Local 6 investigation finds sex predators can have close contact with customers

<p> Mary Clancy frequently orders pizzas from Hungry Howies, and particularly liked one deliveryman, Charles Drasko, who had recently been bringing the food to her front door.</p><p> [WEB EXTRA:  <a href="https://offender.fdle.state.fl.us/offender/homepage.do;jsessionid=tRbEbUGSxcCHNYvhtdj918GM" target="_blank">FDLE Sex Offender Registry</a> | VIDEO: <a href="/news/poll-scott-crist-remain-in-tight-race/29442414" target="_blank">Local 6 report </a> | CHAT RECAP: <a href="http://www.clickorlando.com/news/29429558" target="_blank">Mike DeForest answers your questions</a> |<a href="/news/where-should-sex-predators-work/29438992" target="_blank"> Where should sex offenders be allowed to work</a>?</p><p> "He seems like such a nice guy," said Clancy, who was impressed by Drasko's politeness and prompt service.</p><p> Clancy was surprised to learn recently that Drasko is a convicted sex predator.  In 2004, when Drasko was 18 years old, Marion County sheriff's deputies arrested him for sexually molesting his friend's 10-year-old sister.  While being questioned by detectives, Drasko informed them he was on juvenile sex offender probation for inappropriately touching a 10-year-old boy. </p><p> Drasko later served more than four years in prison for lewd and lascivious molestation.</p><p> "We all make mistakes in life. Hopefully he's learned from his," said Clancy.  "But if I was an owner of a store, or a manager, and I knew someone had that kind of problem, I wouldn't let him be out delivering to neighborhoods with children in them."</p><p> A Local 6 investigation into Florida's 65,000 registered sex offenders and predators reveals many hold jobs that put them in close contact with customers, sometimes with little or no company supervision.</p><p> According to Florida Department of Law Enforcement records, many convicted sex offenders and predators are employed as handymen, plumbers, and electricians.  Others work as locksmiths, even though some states, like Illinois, prohibit sex offenders from holding that job.  At least one convicted sex offender is as a new car salesman, taking customers on test drives. </p><p> Like Drasko, Richard Jason Cox is a pizza delivery driver.  And like Drasko, Cox is a registered sexual predator. A judge can designate someone as a predator if the defendant used physical violence, preyed on children or had repeat violations. </p><p> Just months before his 18th birthday, Cox was arrested near Panama City for sexually battering a child under the age of 16.  Specific details of the 1996 incident were not immediately available.  A judge later sentenced Cox to more than six years in prison.  In 2006, just a few years after his release, Cox was convicted of possessing child pornography, a crime that sent him back to prison for nearly four more years. </p><p> Cox had been working for a Pizza Hut restaurant in Orlando since at least May 2013, according to state records.  Several times a day, he made deliveries to homes occupied by families, babysitters, and others who are unaware of his prior sex crimes.</p><p> Cox would not comment about his employment at Pizza Hut or whether he had told his supervisors about his past.  A shift manager working at the Orlando store said she was unaware of Cox's history and referred questions to the franchise owner, CFL Pizza. </p><p> “We are observant of the industry hiring standards and law around employment and have been in the process of updating our policies,” CFL Pizza CEO Andy Rosen wrote in a statement. “As part of that review, we are conducting background checks on all current and future employees.  As a result, one employee has been terminated, and two have been suspended by CFL Pizza, pending the outcome of our investigation.”</p><p> Besides Cox, two other registered sex offenders, Samuel Flowers and Christian Skapczynski, reported to the FDLE around May 2014 that they were employed by Pizza Hut restaurants owned by CFL Pizza.  Local 6 has been unable to verify whether those offenders worked at the restaurants recently, or what positions they may have held. </p><p> With the exception of working in schools, law enforcement and some government jobs, there are few restrictions prohibiting where sex offenders and predators can be employed in Florida.  Most offenders are eligible to work, and many criminal justice experts believe employment is important to the offenders’ rehabilitation.</p><p> But hiring sex offenders for certain jobs may present risks.</p><p> “If something were to happen at a customer’s home, the employer could certainly be held liable for that,” said labor attorney Steve Ball, who agrees sex offenders and predators should be given opportunities to work.</p><p> “Employers cannot simply say, 'We’re not going to hire this person because they have a criminal record,'” according to Ball. </p><p> However, he believes employers have a duty to consider the employee’s past sex offenses in deciding which jobs the worker should be assigned.</p><p> “The other side's going to argue, if something did happen, that there was that propensity (for crime)," he said. "The employer knew, or should have known had they done any reasonable due diligence, that this person could pose a threat.”</p><p> Ellen Mulligan said she is "1000 percent" confident in her boyfriend, Monte Casteel, and has no concerns with the convicted sex predator working in the spa she owns in Melbourne. </p><p> Casteel, 48, is a licensed cosmetologist who specializes in nails, according to state records.  In 1990, a jury convicted Casteel of exposing himself to a juvenile girl.  Four years later, a woman claims Casteel exposed himself and attempted to force her to perform a sex act.  He later pleaded no contest to the sexual battery charge and was sentenced to probation.</p><p> "I have not seen anyone crucified as much, except for Jesus Christ," said Mulligan, who acknowledged that her boyfriend occasionally works unsupervised at the Petals Skin Spa.</p><p> Despite being a convicted sex predator, Timothy Poole is allowed to drive a cab for his family’s taxi business, Triangle Cab, since there are few regulations governing vehicles-for-hire in Lake County.  “It may be hard for some to believe, but sometimes people are wrongly accused,” said Poole, 43, who insists he poses no risk to his passengers.  In 2002, as part of a plea agreement, Poole pleaded guilty to attempted sexual battery against a child.</p><p> “To say that anyone classified as a predator may not work in a position where he encounters other people is discriminatory,” said Sandy Rozek with Reform Sex Offender Laws, Inc., an organization that promotes the civil rights of convicted sex offenders.  “We believe that if a registrant's situation of offense suggests that he should not be around a certain category of people, then those conditions should be individualized for him, and that should be done as part of his court-ordered conditions, not ex-post fact.”</p><p> Russell Rowe has worked for a Dollar Tree store in Rockledge since at least May 2014.  A judge designated him a predator, following convictions on four different sex crimes since 1996.  Although Rowe has frequent contact with customers who check out at his register, he said he is under constant supervision by store managers and security cameras. </p><p> “I need this job.  It took me two years to find it,” said Rowe.  He claims he informed his employers about his criminal background before he was hired.  A Dollar Tree spokesman declined to comment. </p><p> Mary Clancy, the Hungry Howies customer, believes deliveryman Charles Drasko should have been assigned a different job at the restaurant. </p><p> “Maybe running the register, doing the cooking and cleaning, but I wouldn't let him be out on the roads,” said Clancy.</p><p> Drasko’s employer, Kirk Farr, said he was aware of Drasko’s designation as a sexual predator but did not know the specific details of the crimes. Less than 24 hours after being contacted by Local 6 for comment, Farr said that Drasko and the restaurant had “decided to part ways”.</p><p> “As a company, I can’t have that kind of person around kids,” said the franchise owner. </p>

Published: Thu, 30 Oct 2014 23:09:35 GMT

Where should sex predators work?

<p> After a Local 6 investigation revealed sex predators working in jobs that bring them to customers' homes, a national advocate who works with sex offenders says the label does not inherently put people at risk.</p><p> Brenda Jones, executive director for Reform Sex Offender Laws, says blanket restrictions on what kinds of jobs all sex offenders can work is unfair.</p><p> "Often a person can get a label like that and not actually be dangerous or risky," Jones said.</p><p> Jones says each case should be looked at individually and prospective employers should use information found in background checks to assign an offender a job that is appropriate. She does acknowledge that someone convicted of a sex crime involving a child should not work with children.</p><p> But Jones also points out the relatively low recidivism rate amongst sex offenders as compared to other categories of criminals.</p><p> According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 5.3 percent of sex offenders re-offend. That compares to 13.4 percent of robbers and 41.2 percent of drug offenders.</p><p> Jones does recommend certain jobs like cooks and stocking associates, where offenders would be less likely to come into contact with the public.</p><p> She says the jobs that offenders do end up working are essential to their transition from prison into society.</p><p> "It's hard enough as a former offender of any description with a record. So many of those you check that box and you don't get the job. To be able to hold one is just to critical to success and public safety." Jones said.<br/><br/></p>

Published: Thu, 30 Oct 2014 22:57:18 GMT

Preschoolers break world record

<p> Some local preschoolers broke a world record Thursday morning, teaming up with other children nationwide to learn the same lesson at the same time.</p>

Published: Thu, 30 Oct 2014 23:28:27 GMT

Wall's layup helps Wizards hold off Magic, 105-98

<p> John Wall had 30 points and 12 assists, and the Washington Wizards held off a late surge to beat the Orlando Magic 105-98 on Thursday night.</p><p> Marcin Gortat added 20 points and 12 rebounds. All five starters scored in double figures as Washington earned its fifth straight victory over its division rival.</p><p> The Magic trailed by three at the half, only to be outscored 28-15 in the third quarter. Orlando recovered in the fourth and rallied to trim what had been a 17-point Washington lead to two with less than a minute to play. But Wall got free for a driving layup to help preserve the victory.</p><p> Nik Vucevic led the Magic with 23 points and 12 rebounds.</p><p> Orlando finished with 18 turnovers, matching its total from its season opener.</p><p> The Wizards played short-handed in their loss to Miami on Wednesday, but got instant help inside Thursday thanks to the return of big man Nene. He was back from a one-game suspension for exiting the bench area during a preseason skirmish between Paul Pierce and Chicago's Joakim Noah.</p><p> After logging 30-plus minutes Wednesday, Pierce started a little sluggish in the first half, going just 2 for 5 from the field. He recovered to finish with 16 points.</p><p> He got support from the rest of the Wizards starters, who all reached double figures by halftime. The Magic sizzled from the field, shooting 57 percent in the opening 24 minutes, but had 11 early turnovers.</p><p> Orlando forward Channing Frye, who signed a four-year deal this offseason, made his first appearance in a Magic uniform after missing the entire preseason with a sprained left medial collateral ligament.</p><p> His timing was off at times, though, as he managed just two points in 25 minutes.</p><p> ___</p><p> TIP-INS</p><p> Wizards: F Bradley Beal (fractured left wrist) and Martell Webster (back surgery) remained sidelined.</p><p> Magic: G Victor Oladipo (facial fracture) and F Kyle O'Quinn (sprained left ankle) also both sat out.</p><p> UP NEXT</p><p> Washington: hosts Milwaukee in the Wizards' home opener on Saturday.</p><p> Orlando: hosts Toronto Saturday.</p>

Published: Fri, 31 Oct 2014 02:18:28 GMT

Music Trivia: Top 25 Hit's of the 1960's

<p> This list from "The Billboard Book of Top 40 Hits,"was compiled on data from the following criteria; how high it charted on the "Hot 100" list and for how long. We have the top 25 songs here. Also do you remember these record labels?</p>

Published: Sun, 28 Sep 2014 18:53:09 GMT

What to know about midterm elections

<p> As the 2014 midterm elections approach, learn more facts, key dates and history behind these mid-point elections.</p>

Published: Thu, 30 Oct 2014 13:09:19 GMT