News Cast 12/23

News Cast for December 23rd:

A break in the case 

Justice could be coming for the family of Bolman Slater of Pahokee. 

The 23 year old was found burned up in a vehicle in Harlem, outside Clewiston in 2019. 

Hendry County deputies announced a break thru in the case Wednesday with the arrest of 35 year old Marcus Thompson of Moore Haven. 

He faces charges of accessory after the fact to first degree murder and arson. 

Sheriff Steve Whidden was asked what the family reaction was. 

“They were very happy that we were moving forward and that an arrest has been made.”  

The victim is a transgender woman. 

Whidden hinted more arrests are forth coming. 

“We believe we know (The killer), any information that can help solidify our case is always welcome.” 

Whidden said Harlem residents helped a great deal in the investigation.  They have served 56 warrants during the investigation. 

Whidden said the investigation remained active and didn’t divulge many details about Thompson or his role in the crime. 

He also was not sure if hate crime charges will be pursued. 

The drive sober or get pulled over campaign is in full swing in Florida. 

The effort targets impaired drivers across the state. 

Okeechobee Sheriff Noel Stephen also would like motorists to slow down and pay attention. 

“Just be patient.  Pay attention to where you are going.  WE have so many distractions in and around our vehicles today.” 

Speed is one of the biggest complaints heard by deputies on a daily basis. 

“Most of those are people in our neighborhoods who are violating the seat belt and speed laws.  It is hard to write them a $400 ticket when they are in a hurry to go nowhere.” 

He produced a video to slow down vehicles in residential areas. 

He also has signs available at the Sheriffs Office for residents who might like to put one in their yard to slow down traffic. 

The signs say drive like your kids live here. 

A 24 year old Okeechobee man charged with aggravated child neglect. 

An 18 month toddler boy was found injured with bruises all over his body and other injuries this week. 

City police arrested Jose Perez Junior on Monday. 

He claimed the child was rough housing with another toddler and was injured. 

Police said the investigation into this case remained active. 

Bond was set at $75,000. 

Florida health officials reported over 20,000 cases of COVID 19 in one day Wednesday. 

The new variant omicron is causing high transmission in many urban areas 

Dr. Alina Alonso, Palm Beach County Medical Director, said the surge is not a surprise. 

“The nightmare is definitely not over.  This is the fifth time we have done the same thing.  Every time we do it, the virus comes back.” 

Dr. Alonso said vaccines appear to be working on the latest variant. 

Okeechobee reported 24 cases of the virus since December 9. 

She urged listeners to continue to take precautions. 

Highlands County was honored this week with a State Senate resolution marking their 100th birthday. 

Karen Whaley, a staffer for Senator Ben Albritton said the counties name had a lot to do with the terrain. 

“The county name suggests the pleasant hilliness of the area.” 

DeSoto County was cut up into Charlotte, Hardee, Highlands, DeSoto and Glades County in April, 1921. 

Commissioners celebrated the holidays this week by preparing and handing out meals and gifts to needy veterans at the Highlands County Senior Center.