Thursday, December 14, 2017
Public safety

Sheriff's Office: Pair killed St. Petersburg business owner, then fled south

ST. PETERSBURG — A 24-year-old woman and 34-year-old man killed the woman's employer then fled to South Florida, according to the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office.

Detectives arrested Jaritza M. Diaz and Christopher Lee Robertson II, both of St. Petersburg, on first-degree murder charges after Miami-Dade Police Department officers found them at a hotel in Homestead, south of Miami.

They are accused of killing Christopher Dykes, 54, owner of Fabmaster D Machinery. The Sheriff's Office was called Aug. 28 to the business at 10597 Oak St. NE after an employee couldn't get inside and couldn't find Dykes, who lived on site.

Deputies said they forced their way into the business and found Dykes dead inside.

In the investigation, detectives learned Diaz worked for Dykes for a short time and identified her and Robertson as suspects.

Miami-Dade police found them at the Serena Inn at 26480 S Dixie Highway. Pinellas deputies went to the hotel on Saturday and helped Miami-Dade police arrest Diaz on a warrant for grand theft auto. They also arrested Robertson for aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer for an incident that took place during Diaz's arrest.

Miami-Dade police searched the hotel room and found "forensic evidence connecting Diaz and Robertson to Dykes' murder," the Sheriff's Office said. Pinellas detectives obtained first-degree murder warrants for both of them on Monday.

The pair is being held at the Turner Guilford Knight Correction Center in Miami-Dade County. They will be brought back to Pinellas County to stand trial.

Times staff


Pinellas Park officer stuns middle school student with Taser

PINELLAS PARK — A school resource officer stunned a middle school student with a Taser while trying to break up a fight between her and another female student on Thursday, police said.Neither the Pinellas Park officer nor the students involved in the...
Updated: 7 minutes ago
Bob’s Carpet and Flooring heir was source of family strife before arrest

Bob’s Carpet and Flooring heir was source of family strife before arrest

An heir to a local flooring company charged with failing to report the death of a young woman last year has a troubled criminal history and was a source of strife in his family business, according to court records.Robert Butler III, 52, was arrested ...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Horrified friends watch screaming woman driven to her death in Plant City

Horrified friends watch screaming woman driven to her death in Plant City

PLANT CITY — Jonathon Adams heard a scream, "like a dog getting run over by a car," then saw a minivan come tearing around the corner with a woman he knew dangling out of the passenger side.It was the start of a deadly sequence of events Dec. 8 that ...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Dade City man turns himself in on warrants for Polk armed robbery

Dade City man turns himself in on warrants for Polk armed robbery

DADE CITY — A 25-year-old man wanted in connection with the attempted robbery of a taxi driver in Lakeland turned himself in late Wednesday night after being prompted by his mother, according to the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office.Edner Dely of Dade Ci...
Updated: 4 hours ago

Deputies: Fleeing suspect shoots, injures dog as he runs through yards

DOVER — While fleeing from deputies, a man shot a dog inside a fenced yard Thursday, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office.Deputies said they were attempting to pull over a vehicle that might have been stolen near Milagro Court and Bl...
Updated: 5 hours ago

Amtrak train strikes, kills 60-year-old woman in Lakeland

The Polk County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the death of a 60-year-old woman who was hit by an Amtrak train on Thursday.The woman was struck at 12:30 p.m. in the railroad intersection of Highway 92 East and Fairway Avenue in Lakeland, deputies ...
Updated: 5 hours ago

Palm Harbor woman, 23, killed while crossing Seminole Boulevard

SEMINOLE — A 23-year-old Palm Harbor woman was fatally injured when she was struck by a sport-utility vehicle while crossing Seminole Boulevard on Wednesday night, according to the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office.The incident took place at about 8:4...
Updated: 5 hours ago

Second Ruskin man sought in theft of cell tower equipment that interrupted service

TAMPA —The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office has obtained a warrant for the arrest of a second suspect in the theft of batteries from cell phone towers that interrupted phone service and the 911 emergency call system.Investigators are looking for ...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Florida Missing Child Alert canceled for Jacksonville boy, 2

Florida Missing Child Alert canceled for Jacksonville boy, 2

A Jacksonville boy, 2, who was reported missing early Thursday morning, has been found safe.A Florida Missing Child Alert has been canceled for Legend Jones, who had last been seen in the 1900 block of Fouraker Road in Jacksonville, according to the ...
Published: 12/14/17

Crash downs power lines, closes N Florida Avenue in downtown Tampa

TAMPA — A portion of North Florida Avenue is closed in downtown Tampa as TECO crews repair downed power lines after a crash late Wednesday night.The crash occurred around 11:35 p.m. at the intersection of N Florida Avenue and E Fortune Street, accord...
Published: 12/14/17