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Man rescued from channel in critical condition

Published Sep. 10, 2005

A man rescued from a channel near Anclote Park in Holiday was in critical condition Thursday at Bayfront Medical Center in St. Petersburg.

Hospital clergy and Pasco County sheriff's deputies were searching for the man's family. Near where he fell into the water was a bag that had a Veteran's Administration medical card identifying him as James J. Martin, 54. He slipped, hit his head on a rock and fell into the water Wednesday afternoon, witnesses said.

He was pulled from the water by two men, Ryan Vena, 19, of Palm Harbor and Tim Rutledge, 22, of New Port Richey. Vena and Rutledge performed CPR on Martin and had him breathing before paramedics arrived and put him on a Bayfront medical helicopter.

Woman held in connection

with child abuse charges

NEW PORT RICHEY _ A roach-infested home and complaints of child abuse led Pasco sheriff's deputies to arrest a 34-year-old woman early Thursday morning, according to reports.

A 12-year-old girl told deputies that Dafina Kojic, of 6440 Nebraska Ave. Apt. 14, had pushed her in the chest and knocked her down, reports stated. She said Kojic also had kept her locked out of the home since 10:45 a.m. Wednesday and had failed to feed the girl and a 13-year-old boy.

Authorities won't say if the boy, girl and woman are related.

Deputies said neighbors told them that they had seen the children locked out of the home on many occasions. They and the children also said Kojic was always heavily intoxicated and violent, reports stated.

Inside the home, deputies found roaches in the bedrooms and rotten food in the refrigerator. The boy and girl reported incidents of being burned on the face with cigarettes and being hit with a high-heel shoe.

Kojic denied any charges of battery or abuse. She was transported to the county jail in Land O'Lakes, where she is being held on $20,000 bail. Child protection services took the children to the RAP House, a refuge for teenage runaways.

Man, 28, struck by car

remains in hospital

NEW PORT RICHEY _ A Port Richey man who was struck by a Ford Thunderbird on U.S. 19 Wednesday night remained in critical condition at Bayfront Medical Center on Thursday, said spokesman Bill Hervey.

Xadrian Waldrupe, 28, had walked into the intersection of U.S. 19 and Marine Parkway about 10 p.m. to retrieve a large metal toolbox that had fallen off the back of his truck when he was hit by a car traveling south, said New Port Richey officer Ralph Angelini.

Waldrupe was flown to Bayfront in St. Petersburg with a broken leg and other injuries. No charges are pending against the driver who hit Waldrupe, Angelini said.