Zachary T. Sampson - Investigative Reporter

Investigative Reporter

I work on the investigative team, reporting stories to identify and fix problems or hold powerful people to account. I came to Florida in 2014 by way of Boston. I grew up in Rhode Island, a diehard Yankees fan deep in the heart of enemy bleachers. Talking about baseball is still a quick way to my heart. In Tampa Bay, I've covered breaking news, public safety, general assignment, hurricanes and the environment. Have a story? Something you think more people should know about? Let's talk.

  1. Dead birds of prey, from left, a red-tailed hawk, a pair of red-shouldered hawks, a sharp-shinned hawk and an American kestrel lay on an examination table. The birds were arranged by longtime Pinellas County rescuer Barbara Walker, who wanted to send them for necropsies to confirm their causes of death. Walker said birds regularly die in Tampa Bay because of exposure to rat poisons.
  2. A great horned owlet, left, and its mother share a rat on March 2 in Philippe Park in Safety Harbor. Within days, both would die.
  3. Joe Rufin with Creepy Creatures Termite and Pest Control, of Palm Harbor, organizes blocks of rodenticide while preparing a bait station as he worked to exterminate rodents from a condominium complex on Aug. 18 in Clearwater. The rodenticide is made with cholecalciferol, which is not among the anticoagulants that local wildlife advocates are trying to get off the street.
  4. Anthony Prado, left, Bryan Bartlett and Angel Menendez, with the South Florida Urban Search and Rescue Team, work together Oct. 5 to search for people in an area of homes damaged by Hurricane Ian.
  5. Anthony Prado, with the South Florida Urban Search and Rescue Team (FL-TF2), ducks into a collapsed roof while searching for people Wednesday in Fort Myers Beach. Hurricane Ian devastated the town when it made landfall nearby on Sept. 28.
  6. Mitch Pacyna and his partner, Mary Wojciechowski, pose with their beloved dog, Lulu Bell, in a 2020 Facebook profile picture.
  7. Louis “Smoky” Casin, 76, plays a rendition of the Star Spangled Banner while taking some shade under an RV on Wednesday in the Sunnyland Trailer Court on San Carlos Island.
  8. Shrimpers David Newcomb, aka One-Eyed Dave, 62, center, and David Hutchins, 59, aka Sandbar Dave, right, visit on the deck of the shrimping trawler Lexi-Joe on Friday, Sep 30, 2022, at Erickson and Jensen Seafood Packers in Fort Myers Beach.
  9. A stretch of roadway in Matlacha leading out to Pine Island is seen Thursday, Sept. 29, 2022 in Matlacha. Storm surge from Hurricane Ian was washed away the roadway.
  10. Damage and destruction is seen along Pine Island Road Thursday, Sept. 29, 2022 in Matlacha.
  11. Jake Moses, de 19 años, a la izquierda, y Heather Jones, de 18, de Fort Myers, exploran una sección de negocios destruidos en Fort Myers Beach el jueves 29 de septiembre de 2022, que quedó destruido en su mayor parte después de que el huracán Ian tocara tierra durante la noche del miércoles.
  12. Jake Moses, 19, left, and Heather Jones, 18, of Fort Myers, explore a section of destroyed businesses at Fort Myers Beach on Thursday, Sep 29, 2022. The community was mostly destroyed after Hurricane Ian made landfall on Wednesday.
  13. El pavimento justo antes de la calzada a Sanibel está plegado como un acordeón, hecho pedazos por una fuerte marejada ciclónica.
  14. A section of the causeway leading to Sanibel in Lee County was knocked out by Hurricane Ian.
  15. From left, Hilton employees Louie Fonseca, Frankie Monica, Bryan Kinbacher and Jaime Miranda use rope to secure the front door at the Hilton Garden Inn in Fort Myers in anticipation of Hurricane Ian’s landfall at about 2 p.m. on Wednesday.
  16. El gráfico del Centro Nacional de Huracanes muestra el paso del huracán Ian frente a la costa de la Bahía de Tampa como una gran tormenta.
  17. The 11 p.m. Monday update from the National Hurricane Center for Hurricane Ian tracks it as hitting Florida's Gulf Coast just north of Tampa Bay.
  18. Hurricane Ian threatens to bring dangerous winds and storm surge to the Tampa Bay area, which was placed under a hurricane watch on Monday morning.
  19. Water filled a reservoir at the old Piney Point fertilizer plant site in Manatee County earlier this year. A leak triggered a crisis in 2021, and crews dumped 215 million gallons of wastewater from Piney Point into Tampa Bay.
  20. Tampa police arrested Kristopher Chandler, 22, in connection with a shooting on Hampton Lake Drive.
  21. A cormorant swims over a thick mat of algae covering a bed of seagrass offshore from Tierra Verde in the Shell Key Preserve. Macroalgae have appeared to be more prevalent than usual around some parts of Tampa Bay this year, according to reports from captains and environmental advocates. Scientists cannot say for certain whether that’s a sign of trouble for the ecosystem.
  22. Un científico de Florida sostiene un caracol terrestre africano gigante vivo del sur de Florida en un laboratorio en 2014. [ Times (2014) ].
  23. The shell of a giant African land snail is displayed during a news conference hosted by Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried on Thursday. More than 1,000 of the invasive snails have been captured in Pasco County, where state officials are trying to fend off the invasion.

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