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1158874 2999-04-26 00:00:00.0 UTC 2999-04-25T20:00:00.000-04:00 2011-03-22 10:21:23.0 UTC 2011-03-22T06:21:23.000-04:00 missing-aripeka-boater-found-lands-in-pasco-jail Published 2011-03-23 00:03:31.0 UTC 2011-03-22T20:03:31.000-04:00 news/publicsafety DTI 73749984 ARIPEKA — Most stories of missing boaters who are found and rescued end with happy, tearful reunions. Joe Norfleet's ended with handcuffs. "This is like kicking me while I'm down," said Norfleet, 40, during an interview with the Times from the Pasco jail Tuesday afternoon, where he was booked on a warrant for failing to appear in court on a battery charge. Norfleet had just been rescued after spending the night stuck in his brother's boat in a place just south of Aripeka called Booty Creek. Norfleet suspects it's called that because the tall sawgrass gives boaters privacy. He and his girlfriend, Melissa Wells, 24, went out on the boat with Norfleet's dog, Oliver, at midday Monday. Norfleet misjudged how low the tide would be and the 23-foot boat got stuck. "We better wait this out," he told Wells. He hoped high tide would free the boat. They had a gallon of water and leftover barbecue sandwiches from lunch. At 2 a.m. they split a can of bean soup. Norfleet and Wells screamed at airboats they heard in the distance. He stood on top of the boat with his flashlight. No one stopped. Norfleet's throat hurt. He thought about swimming for shore and trying to find help, but didn't want to leave Wells and Oliver. Norfleet's brother called the Coast Guard at 9 p.m. when the two hadn't come back home. The Norfleet family is large and well known in town. The Norfleet Fish Camp is an Aripeka landmark built in the early 1940s. "Someone will find us," Norfleet told Wells. It was cold that night. He drifted in and out of sleep, jerking awake, on alert. He slept through high tide. About 10 a.m. Tuesday, he heard an airboat roar toward him. A man from Aripeka heard Norfleet was missing and went looking for him. The Coast Guard, Pasco County Sheriff's Office and Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission had also been searching. Oliver got in the boat first. Then Wells and Norfleet, who was sunburned a deep mauve, his legs blistering, his arms scratched and bleeding. He was starving. When they got to the dock, he saw a friend who is a bail bondsman. "You have a warrant," Norfleet said the friend told him. "What for?" Norfleet said. Norfleet swears he didn't know about it and said it was a court mistake. "I ain't done nothing wrong," he said. Norfleet and Wells went to his house. All he wanted was to lay on the couch with Oliver and sleep. But he forced himself to get up to take a shower first. He had stripped to his briefs when the warrants unit arrived. He'd been on land less than an hour. He had his girlfriend answer the door while he slipped out back. He needed to think. "I don't feel like taking care of this right now," he said to himself. He thought about running, but he was so tired. "I better get this over with," Norfleet thought and walked out front. The deputies were very nice, he said. They let him grab some jeans and a T-shirt. "I understood they had a job to do," he said. He was not angry. He said he felt numb. These past several months have been hard, he said. He got divorced. He lost his job in construction. "I've had a lot of things happen to me," he said. As he waited to be released, he focused on what he could: Getting out, getting a shower. He wanted a cheeseburger and fries and Reese's peanut butter cups. He wanted to lay down on the couch with Oliver and sleep and deal with the rest of the world later. Times researcher Carolyn Edds and Times staffer Danny Valentine contributed to this story. Erin Sullivan can be reached at esullivan@sptimes.com or (727) 869-6229. By Erin Sullivan, Times Staff Writer Pasco,News,Public Safety,breaking-news Missing Aripeka boater found; lands in Pasco jail DVALENTINEN Joe Norfleet had spent the night stuck in his brother's boat just south of Aripeka. HER Hernando djj3hhnfudfn djj3h Missing boater is found and arrested on warrant Pasco 10 pasboaters032311.her Missing boater is found and arrested on warrant 2011-03-23 04:00:00.0 UTC 2011-03-23T00:00:00.000-04:00 resources/images/dti/2011/03/pasnorfleet032311_167612a.jpg resources/images/dti/rendered/2011/03/pasnorfleet032311_167612a_4col.jpgresources/images/dti/rendered/2011/03/pasnorfleet032311_167612a_8col.jpg Pasco, Pasco County, Pasco Times, St. Petersburg Times, Coast Guard, Pasco Sheriff's Office, Aripeka true templatedata/tampabaytimes/StaffArticle/data/2011/03/22/73749984-missing-aripeka-boater-found-lands-in-pasco-jail StaffArticle news,public safetyPublic SafetyARIPEKA — Most stories of missing boaters who are found and rescued end with happy, tearful reunions.Joe Norfleet's ended with handcuffs.Pasco, Pasco County, Pasco Times, St. Petersburg Times, Coast Guard, Pasco Sheriff's Office, AripekaErin Sullivan 380307 2038-01-18 05:00:00.0 UTC 2038-01-18T00:00:00.000-05:00 2012-10-25 12:45:06.0 UTC 2012-10-25T08:45:06.000-04:00 erin-sullivan published 2013-10-19 14:05:28.0 UTC 2013-10-19T10:05:28.000-04:00 Erin Sullivan <p>Erin Sullivan covers business in Hillsborough County. She came to the Times in 2006 and previously covered crime, courts and breaking news in Pasco County. Sullivan grew up in Alliance, Ohio, and attended the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism at Ohio University. During college, she also studied at the University of Southern Denmark in Odense, Denmark. After graduating from OU in 2000, she was a Pulliam Fellow at the <i>Indianapolis Star</i> and then worked for the Associated Press in London on a foreign correspondence fellowship. Upon returning to the United States in late 2001, she worked at the <i>Birmingham Post-Herald</i> in Birmingham, Ala., the<i> Commercial Appeal </i>in Memphis, Tenn., and the <i>Orlando Sentinel,</i> before joining the <i>Times</i>. Sullivan was a finalist for a Livingston Award<i> </i>and, in 2004, was inducted into the Scripps Howard Hall of Fame for writing.</p> <p>Story ideas are welcomed and sincerely appreciated. Give her a call or send an email.</p> Times Staff Writer writers DTI 33746731 Erin Sullivan covers business in Hillsborough County. She came to the Times in 2006 and previously covered crime, courts and breaking news in Pasco County. Sullivan grew up in Alliance, Ohio, and attended the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism at Ohio University. During college, she also studied at the University of Southern Denmark in Odense, Denmark. After graduating from OU in 2000, she was a Pulliam Fellow at the Indianapolis Star and then worked for the Associated Press in London on a foreign correspondence fellowship. Upon returning to the United States in late 2001, she worked at the Birmingham Post-Herald in Birmingham, Ala., the Commercial Appeal in Memphis, Tenn., and the Orlando Sentinel, before joining the Times. Sullivan was a finalist for a Livingston Award and, in 2004, was inducted into the Scripps Howard Hall of Fame for writing. Story ideas are welcomed and sincerely appreciated. Give her a call or send an email. <p>Phone: (813) 226-3405</p> <p>Email: <a href="mailto:esullivan@tampabay.com">esullivan@tampabay.com</a></p> <p>Twitter: <a href="https://twitter.com/easullivan">@EASullivan</a></p> 1 /resources/images/dti/2012/10/Sullivan_Erin_wp.jpg true templatedata/tampabaytimes/AuthorProfile/data/33746731-erin-sullivan AuthorProfile 2012-10-25 12:45:06.0 UTC 2012-10-25T08:45:06.000-04:00 <span style="display:none;" class="author vcard"><span class="fn">ERIN SULLIVAN</span></span><span style="display:none;" class="source-org vcard"><span class="org fn">Tampa Bay Times</span></span><a rel="item-license" href="/universal/user_agreement.shtml">&#169; 2016 Tampa Bay Times</a><br /><br />Times Staff Writer 2275564 2016-05-02 12:29:02.0 UTC 4 Months Ago st-petersburg-man-is-one-of-two-boaters-missing-on-the-manatee-river news/publicsafety Boaters found safe after going missing overnight on Manatee River StaffArticle 2272598 2016-04-09 20:49:20.0 UTC 4 Months Ago remains-found-in-pasco-county-identified-as-missing-maine-woman-judith news/publicsafety/crime Remains found in Pasco County identified as missing Maine woman Judith Therianos StaffArticle 2273829 2016-04-19 17:19:59.0 UTC 4 Months Ago authorities-search-for-missing-boater-in-tampa-bay news/publicsafety Hillsborough divers suspend search for boater missing in waters of Tampa Bay StaffArticle <p>ARIPEKA — Most stories of missing boaters who are found and rescued end with happy, tearful reunions.</p> <p>Joe Norfleet's ended with handcuffs.</p> <p>&quot;This is like kicking me while I'm down,&quot; said Norfleet, 40, during an interview with the <i>Times</i> from the Pasco jail Tuesday afternoon, where he was booked on a warrant for failing to appear in court on a battery charge. </p> <p>Norfleet had just been rescued after spending the night stuck in his brother's boat in a place just south of Aripeka called Booty Creek. Norfleet suspects it's called that because the tall sawgrass gives boaters privacy. He and his girlfriend, Melissa Wells, 24, went out on the boat with Norfleet's dog, Oliver, at midday Monday.</p> <p>Norfleet misjudged how low the tide would be and the 23-foot boat got stuck.</p> <p>&quot;We better wait this out,&quot; he told Wells. He hoped high tide would free the boat.</p> <p>They had a gallon of water and leftover barbecue sandwiches from lunch. At 2 a.m. they split a can of bean soup. Norfleet and Wells screamed at airboats they heard in the distance. He stood on top of the boat with his flashlight. No one stopped. Norfleet's throat hurt. He thought about swimming for shore and trying to find help, but didn't want to leave Wells and Oliver.</p> <p>Norfleet's brother called the Coast Guard at 9 p.m. when the two hadn't come back home. The Norfleet family is large and well known in town. The Norfleet Fish Camp is an Aripeka landmark built in the early 1940s. </p> <p>&quot;Someone will find us,&quot; Norfleet told Wells.</p> <p>It was cold that night. He drifted in and out of sleep, jerking awake, on alert.</p> <p>He slept through high tide.</p> <p>About 10 a.m. Tuesday, he heard an airboat roar toward him. A man from Aripeka heard Norfleet was missing and went looking for him. The Coast Guard, Pasco County Sheriff's Office and Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission had also been searching.</p> <p>Oliver got in the boat first. Then Wells and Norfleet, who was sunburned a deep mauve, his legs blistering, his arms scratched and bleeding. He was starving.</p> <p>When they got to the dock, he saw a friend who is a bail bondsman. </p> <p>&quot;You have a warrant,&quot; Norfleet said the friend told him. </p> <p>&quot;What for?&quot; Norfleet said.</p> <p>Norfleet swears he didn't know about it and said it was a court mistake.</p> <p>&quot;I ain't done nothing wrong,&quot; he said.</p> <p>Norfleet and Wells went to his house. All he wanted was to lay on the couch with Oliver and sleep. But he forced himself to get up to take a shower first. </p> <p>He had stripped to his briefs when the warrants unit arrived.</p> <p>He'd been on land less than an hour.</p> <p>He had his girlfriend answer the door while he slipped out back. He needed to think.</p> <p>&quot;I don't feel like taking care of this right now,&quot; he said to himself. He thought about running, but he was so tired.</p> <p>&quot;I better get this over with,&quot; Norfleet thought and walked out front. The deputies were very nice, he said. They let him grab some jeans and a T-shirt.</p> <p>&quot;I understood they had a job to do,&quot; he said.</p> <p>He was not angry. He said he felt numb. These past several months have been hard, he said. He got divorced. He lost his job in construction.</p> <p>&quot;I've had a lot of things happen to me,&quot; he said. </p> <p>As he waited to be released, he focused on what he could: Getting out, getting a shower. He wanted a cheeseburger and fries and Reese's peanut butter cups. He wanted to lay down on the couch with Oliver and sleep and deal with the rest of the world later.</p> <p><i>Times researcher Carolyn Edds and Times staffer Danny Valentine contributed to this story. Erin Sullivan can be reached at esullivan@sptimes.com or (727) 869-6229.</i></p>trueruntime2016-08-30 05:41:52