12/11/13 Public Safety
HOLIDAY — They were baking Christmas cookies Saturday night, Rachael Edwards remembers. Amonti Saunders, her 4-year-old son, was already consumed with the holiday preparations, jotting wishlists and scouting toys. That night, they made snowman and fir tree shapes with the dough. Then his head started to hurt.
Edwards sat at her mother's home Wednesday surrounded by family and told the story of the last 15 hours of her son's life. She thinks it was bacterial meningitis. The family won't know for sure until the Pasco County Health Department gets lab results back. No one knows how Amonti contracted it....
HOLIDAY — Sometime over the weekend, deputies say, Randy Scott Johnson taped a note on a sliding glass door at his mother's house.
Johnson wrote that he'd "done a terrible thing," detectives said. He asked that his mother stay out of the house and wait for deputies to go inside. He asked her to take care of his children.
Then he drove to the Land O'Lakes jail Sunday morning and walked up the long ramp leading to the front doors. To a deputy outside, he confessed to killing his girlfriend....
12/06/13 Public Safety
LAND O'LAKES — There is no chair, so Zachary Wiggins stands in front of the computer in his size 9-through-10, standard-issue orange slippers while he types. On his ninth day in the Land O'Lakes jail, this is why everything got better.
The three black boxes mounted to the wall of every pod in the jail are one more portal to the outside for the inmates here. The computers run one program: smartjailmail.com. That and a digital copy of the inmate handbook. This isn't the first time email has ever been provided to prisoners, but it's a first for Pasco's inmates. ...
LAND O'LAKES — By all accounts, Stacy Renee Slabach should not have been behind the wheel that day. Her dismal driving history already covered seven pages in the state's official records, including four DUIs — two in the same week. In 2010, her license was suspended forever....
12/03/13 Public Safety
NEW PORT RICHEY — Whispers already had begun to circulate around the Pasco Sheriff's Office about a curious relationship between the supervisor of the sex offender unit and a civilian-member crime analyst. Then he moved her desk into his office, where he could close the door.
Sgt. Stephen Foshey, 43, had established a solid record at the department over 13 years, rising to a rank of sergeant overseeing a squad of detectives. But on Nov. 27, Sheriff Chris Nocco fired him after an internal affairs investigation found he had sex with the crime analyst at the office....
12/02/13 Public Safety
HUDSON — Ten more dogs were surrendered to the Humane Society of Tampa Bay on Monday at a home where more than 70 animals were being kept.
Authorities had planned to execute a search warrant after the residents initially refused to let anyone inside, but a woman opened the door to investigators Monday.
None of the animals appeared malnourished, and no one at the home was arrested, authorities said. The identity of the residents could not be confirmed....
11/29/13 Public Safety
Pasco sheriff's Deputy Jose Valenzuela met the woman through their sons. The boys went to high school together. Valenzuela said he went on two, maybe three, dinner dates with her in April 2011. During that time, Valenzuela's 16-year-old son, Abel, met the woman's 14-year-old daughter. They started dating, too. But after the respective parents stopped seeing each other, reports state, Abel and the girl stayed together....
WESLEY CHAPEL — Mathew James Frydenlund meant to walk into his own house at 3 a.m. on Thanksgiving, he would later tell deputies. He was off by about a mile.
Instead, deputies say, the very drunken man slipped into another home and stood over a couple's bed, looking down at them while they slept.
Frydenlund, 23, woke the couple up, according to a Pasco sheriff's report. He asked to use the phone....
NEW PORT RICHEY — A Holiday man was arrested Tuesday after, police say, a toddler left in his care was found with bruises and a broken arm.
Joseph Alec Kazmar, 34, brought the 15-month-old boy to his mother at 6:30 Tuesday morning, with bruising on the toddler's underarms, back and head, a New Port Richey Police report states. Kazmar said the boy had fallen out of his playpen and that Kazmar found the child on the floor with his right arm under him....
NEW PORT RICHEY — A 19-year-old man was arrested Tuesday after, police say, he scalded a 2-year-old's hand.
Frank Anthony Boccia was left in a home with the boy while his grandmother went to pick up another child, a New Port Richey police report states. She left the toddler asleep in an upstairs loft. When she returned, the child's right hand was burned. At Tampa General Hospital, a physician found the third-degree burns were from submersion, as if someone held the child's hand under a hot liquid. The toddler had no access to hot water in the loft. The report states Boccia couldn't explain the burn....
PORT RICHEY — A Pasco detention deputy was arrested Saturday after, authorities say, he hurt his live-in girlfriend, who is pregnant with his child.
The fight started just before 5 a.m. Saturday when Taylor Wayne McFadden, 25, kept touching his girlfriend's belly after she told him to stop, a Pasco Sheriff's report states. He snatched her cell phone.
McFadden grabbed his girlfriend's right bicep, scratching her, the report states, then he dragged her from the bed. The woman bit McFadden just below his right knee and escaped. McFadden fled the home....
NEW PORT RICHEY — Home alone with her baby Thursday night, deputies say Molly Mary Flynn started drinking.
She put the 22-month-old girl down for the night and went out.
She walked downstairs to Lonzalo's, a neighborhood pizzeria and bar, a Pasco sheriff's report states, where she panhandled patio patrons for their libations.
She had no luck with the barkeep, either.
Flynn told them all about her daughter asleep upstairs. ...
11/22/13 Public Safety
NEW PORT RICHEY — Friday started at 7 a.m. for Police Chief Kim Bogart with roll call and talking to his officers. Then there was a survey to finish for the red light camera system, paperwork, a meeting downtown, another meeting, driving to Dade City for an advisory board, oh, and also he has cancer.
Don't call him about it. He doesn't need you to pray or feel sorry for him. You shouldn't worry about it any more than he does, which is not very much. Really....
11/21/13 Human Interest
NEW PORT RICHEY — It was hit or miss soliciting donations for the RAP House, still a young not-for-profit in the early 1980s. George Magrill made his pitch for the short-term shelter for runaways and homeless youths but sat through several cordial "Nos."
Until he walked into Jack Smith's office.
"He was just incredibly delightful," Magrill said of the C & C Bank regional manager. "With Jack, it was almost as if . . . we had known him for a long time."...
11/20/13 Public Safety
NEW PORT RICHEY — A day after she was put on probation in connection with a sexual harassment investigation, Nancy Bunch, director of Pasco-Hernando Community College's public services academy, announced Wednesday she plans to retire.
Don Ruminer, an instructor at the academy, was accused of touching, gesturing and making inappropriate comments to another person at the college. At some point, the investigation found that subordinates told Bunch about the harassment, but Bunch "failed to take action," spokeswoman Lucy Miller wrote in an email....