Newscast for Thursday, September 15th 2022

No foul play suspected

Two inmate deaths inside the Okeechobee County Jail are under investigation.

Kaitlynn Barnes, 19 was found not breathing on her bunk on September 13.  She was pregnant and had been having some complications.

She also had a recent hospital visit.

Jail staff tried to revive Barnes but CPR was unsuccessful.

Joseph Abruzzi, 60 was found dead in his cell on September 14.

The medical examiner will perform autopsy’s in these deaths.

Sheriff Noel Stephen voiced sadness about these deaths.

“I feel very sad for them and their families that these incidents have happened.”

He said both were in isolation.  Abruzzi was by himself in the cell.

“We don’t find anything from observation and inspection of the cells.  The medical examiner will review and there is no cause of foul play found in either situation.  We are awaiting toxicology and blood work to come back before we made a final determination.”

Sheriff Stephen said there is no camera inside these cells.

A South Bay homicide was solved within one week.

Palm Beach Sheriff Detectives said they developed a suspect for the homicide that occurred in South Bay.

Hargest King, 26 was arrested and booked into the Western Detention Center in Belle Glade.

He’s accused of shooting to death Manuel Segura on September 8th.

He faces charges of homicide, possession of a weapon by a convicted felon, aggravated assault and tampering with evidence.

Nine donkeys now being detained in Glades County.

They were located on County Road 731 in the Muse area on Wednesday.

Deputies want to get a hold of the owner.

If you have information on these donkeys please call (863) 946-1600 extension 2112 and ask for Sgt. Kevin Howell.

Hendry County Commissioners turned down a proposed farm worker housing project in Felda on CR 830A.

Farmer Chuck Obern said he can’t have a farm unless he has people to work it.

“Hendry County depends on land owners and farmers for their tax base.  That is where the money comes to fund this county.”

Neighbors complained about noise from loud parties, prostitutes and drugs.

Sonya Lee these workers bring problems with them.

“We know personal from residents that worked there who have seen prostitutes come in, the taxi’s come in and the alcohol come in.”

Commissioners also voted to prohibit smoking at county parks and will require security and insurance for events at the LaBelle Rodeo grounds that sell alcohol.

The Florida Ethics Commission ended an investigation into the Coquina Water Management District in Okeechobee by fining former chairwoman Dorothy Miles $1,500.

She was found to have violated three Florida statutes.

The commission found no probable cause for other allegations.

She was also publicly censured and reprimanded.

Melody Hadley with the commission said there were delays in the case which began in 2017.

One was the COVID-19 pandemic and the other was Miles not having legal representation for a time.

Miles was found to have used her position to receive additional compensation for accounting services and with directing an employee to shred proxy ballots in an election.