The Voice of the Gem City

News July 20, 2022

This is Marcia Lane, your roving reporter.

See something say something led to the arrest of a 31-year-old Palatka man Monday after citizens tipped off the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office to the man’s threats of violence in Facebook posts. Andrew Phillips was arrested at work Monday evening after people reported his posts on Saturday threatening plans for a mass shooting as well as raping and killing a young woman. Deputies didn’t find him at his Palm Avenue home but were able to talk with his mother and eventually arrest him. “After talking to people who know this individual, he is clearly having his own personal internal struggle,” said Sheriff Gator DeLoach on the Sheriff’s Office Facebook site. “He is now clearly on our radar and we will do everything to ensure the community’s safety as well as his own well-being.” Phillips is in jail without bond. DeLoach noted “in light of the increased violence we have seen by those with mental health issues, this is a perfect example of see something, say something.”

In Flagler County construction crews halted work Monday afternoon following discovery of a human bone at the Toscana subdivision off Old Kings Road in Palm Coast. The find was reported to Flagler County Sheriff’s deputies and both anthropologists with the University of Central Florida and the area medical examiner contacted. The medical examiner who went to the scene and UCF confirmed remains found are human. How old the bones are hasn’t been determined. Exactly where the remains came from may be delayed since dirt has been moved around the site for a retention pond and housing. Sheriff Rick Staly said no more information is being released at the moment since authorities have yet to determine if the bones are related to a homicide, missing person or possible dating back to a Native American settlement.

A Flagler County mother and her son have died from injuries received in a car crash off Interstate 95 Sunday. Chelsea Hawk, 39, of Palm Coast, died late Monday night at an area hospital. On Tuesday her partner announced the death of their 12-year-old son in the same accident. According to the Florida Highway Patrol, the minivan they were in failed to make a sharp curve at the I-95 interchange with Beville Road in Daytona Beach, hit a sign and ended submerged in a retention pond. All five occupants of the van including her partner and three children were initially hospitalized. One child remains in the hospital, according to the father. 

Protests from St. Johns County residents Tuesday led to the county commission deciding to stand with residents and put an end to a planned assisted living facility. Commissioners agreed to appeal the county staff’s interpretation of how the county’s comp plan and land development code is applied for assisted living facilities that are going in a residential future land use designation that is zoned open rural. Residents said the 33,000 square foot facility didn’t go with the rural neighborhood where it was to be located in an area near World Golf Village. 

The 13-year-old St. Johns County girl shot in the eye with a pellet gun on July 4 has died, according to authorities. St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office confirmed the death of Rebecca Fraser. Family members say she died Friday at Wolfson Children’s Hospital where she was taken after the shooting at a residence near Flagler Estates. A 12-year-old boy reportedly reportedly was holding the pellet gun when it discharged. The incident is being investigated as an accident. The Fraser family has started a GoFundMe to raise money for medical bills and necessities.

Budget hearings are set for Thursday at Palatka City Hall. At 3 p.m. a workshop is set for the Community Redevelopment Agency. At 4:30 p.m. city officials hold their second second budget workshop.

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