Cause of death of a man whose body was found in a canal in the Melrose area Sunday morning is under investigation. Bradford County Sheriff Gordon Smith said the body appeared to be that of a man between the ages of 20 and 30. He was nude wearing only one sock. The body was reported about 10:15 a.m. about the same time as a report came in of a home burglary. A stolen white jeep was found in the woods near the canal where the body was found. Alachua County is taking over the investigation. The unincorporated town of Melrose is located where four counties, including Putnam, meet.
Two new permanent county judges may be in the future for Flagler and Citrus counties. House Bill HB5011 cleared the house Thursday sponsored by Palm Coast’s Paul Renner, an upcoming Speaker of the House.
Two motorcyclists with serious injuries are in area hospitals after crashing Sunday into a St. Johns County deputy’s patrol car. Florida Highway Patrol is investigating the wreck on State Road 16 at Harvest Lane near the St. Augustine Premium Outlet. FHP says Deputy Brandon Hetzler was attempting to make a U-turn when two motorcycles struck the front of his car around 5 p.m. Saturday. Julia Perez, 51, and Thomas Eiland, 59, were thrown from their cycles. Both were wearing helmets. Perez was taken to UF Health in Jacksonville with critical injuries, Eiland to Flagler Hospital with serious injuries. Charges are pending, says FHP.
Flagler County officials are turning over an investigation into the county’s tourism director to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. Flagler Sheriff’s offices says an internal county investigation found “clear enough evidence” to suspend director Matt Dunn and continue the investigation. Dunn has been with the county five years and is accused of misappropriation of county funds. Amy Lukasik, who is the division’s director of tourism and marketing, will run the office temporarily.
A 17-year-old Flagler Palm Coast High School student on Thursday night was charged with allegedly making a video SnapChat threat to shoot up an unspecified school. The video showed ammunition and James G. Cooke III making a statement about being ready to to shoot up a school. Cooke told officers it was a joke. Arrest records show it’s not his first brush with he law. He’s twice been charged with raping children and convicted once. The incidents happened in 2012 and 2014 and involved small boys. He was sentenced to a diversion program in 2015.
A fire Friday night has left a South Putnam County family homeless. The seven-member family is in need of just about everything as the structure in Paradise Shores is a total loss. The family’s two dogs got out safely, but they lost their two cats. Clothing items are needed for the parents and the five children who range in age from 8 to 18 months.