Around the region


Published: Wednesday, November 1, 2006 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, November 1, 2006 at 12:00 a.m.

Police arrest area man on child abuse charge

A Gainesville man was arrested Tuesday after police say he held a pillow over his 6-year-old son's face several times, preventing him from breathing.
James Lloyd Wilson, 51, of 2205 SE 23rd Place, was arrested on a charge of aggravated child abuse in connection to the incident Tuesday. Wilson was baby-sitting his son at 925 SE 2nd Ave. when he reportedly held a pillow over the boy's face twice, police said. The boy told police he couldn't breathe for "a long time."
Wilson later told police that the boy had thrown books at him and that he spanked the boy with one of the books.
Wilson was being held at the Alachua County jail without bond Tuesday.
- Deborah Ball

Police arrest pair on robbery charge

A man and a woman were arrested Tuesday after police say the pair followed a woman home from an ATM last week and then robbed her.
Tiffanie Renee Howell, 22, and Kevin L. Higginbotham, 21, were both charged with robbery with a firearm in connection to the Oct. 24 incident, Gainesville police said.
The victim told police she was locking her car door after arriving home at 1238 SW 1st Ave. at 9:05 p.m. when a masked man pointed a silver semi-automatic pistol at her and demanded her purse. The robber then hit her in the shoulder, causing her to fall down, and ran away.
Police later traced Howell and Higginbotham to the robbery after the pair tried to use the victim's ATM card twice at a Gainesville bank and were caught on surveillance video. Howell admitted to police that she knew Higginbotham had robbed the woman and that she drove the getaway car.
Both Howell and Higginbotham remained in custody at the Alachua County jail without bond Tuesday night.
- Deborah Ball

Sheriff candidates to debate tonight

A debate between candidates for Alachua County sheriff will be held tonight at Buchholz High School.
Sadie Darnell, a retired Gainesville Police captain, and Emery A. Gainey, the colonel at the Sheriff's Office, are running to become the county's new sheriff. Darnell, 54, won the county's Democratic nomination in September. Gainey, 47, was the only Republican candidate to qualify for the election.
The debate is set to start at 7:30 p.m. with doors at the school, 5510 NW 27th Ave., opening at 6:30 p.m., the Fraternal Order of Police reported. The organization is hosting the debate.
- Sun staff report

Researchers study cause of fish kill

JUPITER ISLAND - Scientists were working Tuesday to determine what caused the deaths of about a thousand fish along a two-mile stretch of ocean near the Blowing Rocks Preserve.
"I've never seen anything like this," said Blowing Rocks site manager Bruce Beh, who discovered the dead sand drum fish Sunday morning.
It is extremely rare to see a fish kill that affects just one species, said Theresa Cody, a marine research associate with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Research Institute in St. Petersburg.
She speculated the fish might have been killed by disease or dumped from a net.
In August 2004, thousands of dead sand drums were found near Cape Canaveral, but they had decomposed too much to determine what killed them, Cody said.
Scientists expected to receive tissue samples from the latest fish kill on Tuesday for testing, The Palm Beach Post reported.
- The Associated Press

Number of turtle nests in Panhandle down

FORT WALTON BEACH - Panhandle sea turtle experts report fewer turtle nests on area beaches this nesting season.
Santa Rosa, Okaloosa and Walton counties reported 49 nests on their beaches this year.
In 2000, the beach areas had more than 150 sea turtle nests, but the numbers have generally decreased since, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
Sharon Maxwell heads the volunteer group South Walton Turtle Watch, which finds and monitors nests.
The group found 20 nests this season in Walton County, the number was about the same as last year's number, she said.
The majority of the eggs in each sea turtle nest hatched, which means the baby turtles have a chance for survival, she said.
Scientists don't know exactly why the number of nests has declined in recent years, said Bob Miller, endangered species biologist with Eglin Air Force Base.
- The Associated Press

Rescuers find body of missing fisherman

APALACHICOLA - A man who disappeared while setting crab traps on the Apalachicola River was found dead Tuesday, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said.
Searchers in a helicopter spotted the body of Duane Martina, 71, a commercial fisherman from Apalachicola, next to his boat on the Apalachicola River.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission, U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and numerous family members had been searching for Martina since Monday night, when family reported him missing.
He was last seen Monday morning on the river just north of Apalachicola.
- The Associated Press

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