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Florida officials launch cold case playing cards in jails, prisons to ‘generate new leads’

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Florida officials launch cold case playing cards in jails, prisons to ‘generate new leads’


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Florida officials are reviving an old initiative to solve cold cases by distributing thousands of playing cards in jails and prisons hoping it will help “generate new leads and insights from inmates,” the state Attorney General’s Office announced Monday.

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More than 5,000 decks of playing cards that contain photographs and information about unsolved homicide and missing person cases will be printed and issued to correctional facilities across Florida, law enforcement officials said at a news conference Monday. The cards will be distributed to over 60 county jails overseen by local sheriff’s offices and 145 sites overseen by the state’s Department of Corrections.

“We’re pleased to announce a special initiative, which hasn’t been done here in the state of Florida statewide in about 15 years, but it’s something that we know (works),” Florida Association of Crime Stoppers President Frank Brunner said at the news conference. “This was the right time to create and distribute another deck of cold case homicide playing cards into Florida’s jails and prisons, and certainly we will also have them available online in some other media form as well.”

The new version of cold case playing cards is part of Attorney General Ashley Moody’s efforts to prevent violent crime and solve cold case homicides in Florida, according to Brunner. Since 2019, Moody said her office has been working to enlist the public’s help in solving cold cases.

In 2020, Moody and the Florida Association of Crime Stoppers launched a statewide anonymous tipline. Officials then significantly increased reward money for anonymous tips, “nearly doubling the amount for tips on unsolved homicides,” Moody said.

The attorney general announced in February a new state cold case investigations unit that assists resource-constrained local agencies to follow up on leads for cold cases.

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The latest effort is in collaboration with the Florida Association of Crime Stoppers, the state Sheriffs Association, the state Department of Corrections and Season of Justice, a nonprofit organization dedicated to solving cold cases, officials said.

According to nonprofits Project Cold Case and The Murder Accountability Project, the rate at which homicides are being solved in the United States has been declining over the past five decades. In its analysis of the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report, The Murder Accountability Project found that nearly 340,000 cases of homicide and non-negligent manslaughter between 1965 and 2022 have gone unsolved.

Slasher: A vicious abduction and assault of three teens that stayed unsolved for decades

Cold-case playing cards have seen success in Florida before

According to Florida officials, versions of cold case playing cards have been successful in the state.

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In July 2007, state officials distributed about 100,000 decks of an older version of playing cards to inmates, according to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. The two editions contained 104 unsolved cases from across Florida.

The older version featured a 2004 case in which construction workers found the body of Ingrid Lugo, 34, in a retention pond, according to the Attorney General’s Office.

“After seeing the information on one of the cards, three inmates reported the murderer, found to be Lugo’s boyfriend, Bryan Curry,” the Attorney General’s Office said. “Curry ended up being tried and found guilty of second-degree murder in March 2008.”

The playing cards also led to the arrest of Derrick Hamilton in October 2007 after an inmate tipped off police, the Tampa Bay Times reported at the time. The inmate had told authorities that Hamilton had bragged about killing James Foote, who was found dead with a gunshot wound in a Fort Myers, Florida, parking lot.

A photograph of Foote and details on his case were featured on the seven of clubs, according to The Tampa Bay Times.

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In 2008, state officials released another version and distributed it to 65,000 inmates across 67 county jails and 141,000 supervised offenders serving on state probation, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement said. The deck featured 52 unsolved homicide and missing persons cases.

For the newest edition, officials said Monday that tips that lead to an arrest are eligible for a reward of up to $9,500.

Similar initiatives implemented in other states

Law enforcement officials in Polk County, Florida, were the first to distribute unsolved case cards in correctional facilities, Massachusetts State Police said in its announcement of unresolved crime cards in 2022.

The initiative was inspired by playing cards showing Saddam Hussein’s regime members that were given to U.S. soldiers in 2003 during the Iraq War, according to Massachusetts State Police. A Florida Crime Stoppers group then designed a deck of cards in 2005 that contained local cold cases, a 2006 article from the National Criminal Justice Reference Service Virtual Library said.

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The deck of cards was distributed to about 2,500 inmates “with the hope of generating new leads on cold cases,” the article said. In less than three months after Polk County officials launched the cards, authorities received more than 60 tips and solved four cases, according to Massachusetts State Police.

Since then, cold case playing cards have been used across the U.S. by state and local law enforcement agencies. Similar decks have helped solve 20 cold cases in Connecticut and at least eight cases in South Carolina, according to the Florida Attorney General’s Office.

CBS Minnesota reported in November 2023 that a man helped identify a woman’s remains through cold case playing cards. The remains were of Deana Patnode, who was 23 when she was last seen in St. Paul, Minnesota, in October 1982.

“Deana’s former neighbor, Mike Doherty, recently shared his story for the first time. He recognized a clay likeness of Deana on one of our Cold Case playing cards,” the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension said in a statement last November. “Deana was the 4 of Diamonds, listed as an unidentified Jane Doe.”

Patnode’s remains were found about 80 miles south seven years later but weren’t identified until 2009, according to the agency. Doherty had called in the tip, which led to Patnode’s identification, the agency said.

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Joe LeBlanc’s Florida District 22 All-Stars Little League Report – Saturday, June 22 – Space Coast Daily

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Joe LeBlanc’s Florida District 22 All-Stars Little League Report – Saturday, June 22 – Space Coast Daily


THE SPACE COAST DAILY – FRIDAY NIGHT LOCKER ROOM TEAM IS BREVARD’S #1 SPORTS SOURCE

The Florida District 22 All-Star Tournament for 2024 continued Saturday night with the 8/9/10 Baseball Division at Holder Park in Mims. 

BREVARD COUNTY • MIMS, FLORIDA – The Florida District 22 All-Star Tournament for 2024 continued Saturday night with the 8/9/10 Baseball Division at Holder Park in Mims.

Game 1:

The All-stars from District 11’s St. Augustine Little League (visitor) met the All-stars from District 19’s Lake Mary LL. St. Augustine’s first 3 batters, Brady Leth, Josiah Engleman, and Liam Drozd reached base and scored. Lake Mary answered back in the 2nd inning with Mason Williams’ solo homer followed by Colton Hallman and Fenn Morin reaching base and scoring to tie the game at 3.

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The skies opened up with rain in the 3rd inning with the score still tied at 3-3. After 2 hours of raking, splashing about, several bags of Speedy Dry, and a lot of help from volunteers, the fields were back to playable and the game continued. St. Augustine’s Drozd scored 2 more runs, while Micah Bush, Evan Gaskins, and Colby Frink hit home runs.

Isaiah Holden hit a Grand Slam in the 4th inning helping St. Augustine to capture the win with a score of 19-3. St. Augustine’s win set up the remaining games for the day.

Game 2:

District 22’s Mims LL (visitor) played District 19’s Lake Mary LL. Mims started the scoring in the first inning when Noah Denoro reached base and Mason Selph brought him in with a 2-run homer.

But Lake Mary answered back in their half of the first with runs from Phoenix Hallman and Carter Picard.

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Mims’ M. Selph would homer again on a full count in the 6th, but it wouldn’t be enough as Lake Mary’s P. Hallman, Picard, and Jax Padgett would each score twice in their team’s 10-3 victory.

Game 3:

District 11’s St. Augustine LL (visitor) was then matched against District 22’s Mims LL in the final game of the day. The game was close and went into the 5th tied at 1 after St. Augustine’s Brady Leth scored in the 1st and Mims’ Brayden Madison homered in the 2nd inning.

Mims’ Mason Selph would homer in the 6th to break the tie and become the eventual winning run as Mims defeated St. Augustine 2-1.

With all three teams tied at 1-1, Little League’s Runs Allowed Ratio needed to be used to determine a tournament champion.

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With only 5 runs allowed throughout the tournament, St. Augustine LL claimed the title and will represent Section 3 at the Florida Intermediate (50/70) Baseball State Tournament starting on Friday, June 28th, and hosted by Palmetto Little League.

CLICK HERE FOR BREVARD COUNTY SPORTS





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Florida family whose roof hit by debris from space station sues NASA for damages

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Florida family whose roof hit by debris from space station sues NASA for damages





Florida family whose roof hit by debris from space station sues NASA for damages




















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Suspect struck, killed by car after Florida officer deploys stun gun

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Suspect struck, killed by car after Florida officer deploys stun gun


TAMPA, Fla. – A Tampa police officer deployed his Taser while attempting to arrest a domestic violence suspect who was then fatally struck by a car, according to a news release.

Officers responded around 2:20 a.m. Friday to a reported domestic-related assault in the 4000 block of West Hillsborough Avenue, the release states. The first officer on the scene located the suspect and attempted to question him, yet police said the suspect refused to obey commands and tried entering a vehicle that a female victim was inside before attempting to leave on foot.

The officer deployed his Taser and a vehicle traveling eastbound on West Hillsborough Avenue then struck the suspect and continued without stopping, according to the release.

The suspect was pronounced dead at the scene, police said. It was not immediately shared whether the suspect was lying in the road stunned when the crash occurred. News 6 is working to learn more.

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The Tampa Police Department has classified the suspect’s death as an in-custody death due to how the officer was attempting to arrest them when they were struck by the vehicle, according to the release. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement has thus taken the lead on the death investigation in accordance with a mutual aid agreement, police said.

Traffic homicide investigators are otherwise still working to identify and locate the vehicle that struck the suspect, according to the release, though no description was available at the time of this report.

A victim’s advocate would work with the victim in the case, who suffered non-life-threatening injuries, police said.


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