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Briefs: New Port Richey man found dead in canal

GAINESVILLE

New Port Richey man found dead in canal

A New Port Richey man who was traveling to Texas but stopped in Gainesville for medical help was found dead in a canal there on Wednesday, local police told the Gainesville Sun.

Donald Stephen Murray, 50, was taking a Greyhound bus to Texas last weekend, according to a report in the Sun on Thursday, when he got off in Gainesville on June 7. Murray, who police said has a history of physical and mental illnesses, told his estranged wife that he stopped there to seek medical treatment but did not say for what.

Four days later, Gainesville police said utility workers found Murray, naked, in a canal off NE 10th Avenue on Wednesday. An autopsy was performed, but a cause of death has not yet been determined, officials told the Sun.

Murray may have been in the canal since Tuesday, police told the Sun. His clothes were not found. Murray was identified by his fingerprints. Police have classified the case as a "suspicious death investigation."

The Gainesville Police Department could not be reached for comment Saturday.

Anyone with information about this case is asked to contact Gainesville police Detective Jeff Nordberg at (352) 334-3135.

ZEPHYRHILLS

Repeat offender stole steaks, police charge

Terry Anthony Putz was arrested Friday and charged with theft after trying to steal $200 worth of steaks from a Wal-Mart Supercenter, police said.

Putz, who has now been arrested 28 times, according to Zephyr- hills police, was at the supercenter at 7631 Gall Blvd. around 3:30 p.m. Friday, according to a police report, even though officers had ordered him to stay away from the store because of prior theft.

Store employees told police Putz entered the store, hid the steaks in his backpack, then tried to leave without paying.

When they tried to stop him, the employees told police, Putz tried to push past them at the exit. But the employees grabbed his wheelchair.

After he was read his rights, the report said, Putz admitted taking the steaks. The 41-year-old was arrested on a felony charge of retail theft and a misdemeanor charge of resisting a merchant.

He remained in the county jail on Saturday, with bail set at $2,200.

NEW PORT RICHEY

Man charged with arson in house fire

Tony Elijah Barney helped try to put out a house fire early Saturday on Sutherland Avenue.

The problem, witnesses told deputies, is that they saw Barney leave the home while it was on fire.

Barney, 26, was arrested by the Pasco County Sheriff's Office on a charge of arson. He remained in the county jail Saturday, with bail set at $5,000.

The fire occurred about 1:20 a.m., according to a sheriff's report, which offers no other details about the blaze. During an interview with deputies, the report said, Barney denied being near the home before the fire began. After he was read his rights, the report said, he also gave deputies several conflicting stories.

Barney's address is listed as 6521 Sutherland Ave. The fire was at 6520 Sutherland Ave.

Briefs: New Port Richey man found dead in canal 06/14/08 [Last modified: Monday, June 16, 2008 1:58pm]
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