Around the region for Nov. 1

Published: Sunday, November 1, 2009 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, October 31, 2009 at 8:52 p.m.


Man, 59, charged with armed sexual battery

The Putnam County Sheriff's Office charged a 59-year-old Orange Park man with armed sexual battery Saturday after an incident at an East Palatka motel.

Deputies responded to a report of sexual battery at the Telstar Motel in east Palatka, where the victim reported she met with Maroun Ata, 59.

The victim told deputies that Ata pulled a gun on her and forcefully removed her clothes when she refused to have sex with him. Ata then forced the victim to have sex.

Following an investigation Ata was arrested and taken to the Putnam County Jail.

Harriet Daniels

Woman hospitalized after van, truck collide

A pickup traveling southbound on State Road 247 in Columbia County Saturday afternoon was struck by a van attempting to make a U-turn.

According to the Florida Highway Patrol, the driver of the van did not see the oncoming truck, and the truck was unable to stop in time to avoid the collision.

Both vehicles traveled north onto the southbound lane, coming to rest on the west shoulder of the roadway.

Paula Lewis of Lake City, driver of the van, was taken to Shands at the University of Florida with serious injuries. Neither the van's passenger nor the pickup's driver, Timothy Abbott of Lake City, were injured.

Both drivers were wearing seatbelts, FHP said.

Harriet Daniels


Tips continue in case of slain Orange Park girl

ORANGE PARK - A spokeswoman for the Clay County Sheriff's Office says authorities have received 2,400 tips in the case of a slain Orange Park girl whose body was found in a Georgia landfill.

Investigators have not named any suspects or people of interest in the death of 7-year-old Somer Thompson, who disappeared in late October as she was walking home from school in her northeast Florida community.

The girl's body was found in a landfill some 50 miles away. No one has been charged in her death.

Somer was buried Tuesday.

The Associated Press

Authorities raid South Florida strip club

BOYNTON BEACH - More than two dozen people are facing criminal charges following an undercover investigation at a South Florida adult entertainment business.

According to a news release from the Boynton Beach Police Department, authorities raided Platinum Showgirls late Friday night. Thirty employees now face various felony and misdemeanor charges. The business was also found in violation of county ordinances.

An investigation into the club took months to complete. It began in June, when undercover officers walked in the club to try and buy drugs.

The Associated Press

Man's body found in bathroom at party

HOLIDAY - The death of a man whose body was found at a teenager's birthday party in Holiday is being investigated as a homicide.

According to a news release, Pasco County Sheriff's Office deputies responded to an American Legion hall early Saturday morning.

The man was found dead in a bathroom at the hall, which was being rented out for the birthday celebration.

Father calls son's death a 'terrible accident'

FORT LAUDERDALE - A South Florida teenager accused of fatally stabbing his younger brother still asks about the teen and forgets he has died.

That's according to the family of 15-year-old William Gorzynski and 14-year-old Matthew Gorzynski, who was killed Monday. The teens' father, Thomas Gorzynski, discussed the case Friday at a short news conference.

Thomas Gorzynski says his sons were best friends. He called Matthew's death a "terrible accident" and said he loves both his boys.

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