It’s a hard video for an animal lover to watch: An apparently scared raccoon skitters along the bow of a boat as a man shouts at him, threatening to push him into the water, until the animal finally slips off the edge. A subsequent video shows the raccoon trying to stay afloat in the water.
Florida lawyer Thomas Cope posted the videos on Facebook, where they went viral—and led to outrage.
Cope says the raccoon stowed away on the boat, only coming out when it was 20 miles offshore. The animal is presumed to have died at sea, and some viewers of the video called the whole thing “disgusting” and “despicable,” the Tampa Bay Times reports.
Cope has since apologized, and the state has launched an investigation.
“The animal was running around the boat hissing and growling, making it impossible for me or my friend to drive the boat,” Cope said in a statement. “Knowing raccoons can be rabid and unpredictable, the only realistic option we could think of in the moment was to get the raccoon off the boat.”
He added that he felt bad for the raccoon, though he can be heard in the video telling it “so long, sucker” as it fell into the water and he referred to it as a “trash panda” in the post caption, per the Orlando Weekly.
A source tells WFLA that Cope originally posted the videos to a private group for boaters, but they were shared widely outside of that group.
The incident was reported to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, which says anyone with further information should call the state’s Wildlife Alert Hotline at 1-888-404-3922. (These raccoons weren’t rabid, just tipsy.)
LARGO, Fla. – A Florida woman is facing charges after deputies say she hid several syringes inside her vagina, according to WFLA.
The arrest report says 35-year-old Jaymie Wescott was reportedly snarling and yelling at staff, refusing to leave the Burger King bathroom.
Wescott allowed deputies to search her but reportedly pulled away when they searched her groin area. That’s where they allegedly “felt something hard,” WFLA reported.
Deputies brought Wescott to jail where she reportedly removed seven syringes from her vagina. The arrest report said the syringes contained a clear substance but did not specify what the substance was.
Wescott now faces charges of possession of drug paraphernalia, introducing or possessing contraband in a county detention facility and resisting an officer without violence.
BARTOW, Fla. – A 70-year-old Florida man was captured on video standing up through the open sunroof of a white Cadillac, arms outstretched, while driving down the highway.
An off-duty Hillsborough County sheriff’s deputy recorded Leonard Olsen Jr., of Lakeland, driving down US-98 and notified the Florida Highway Patrol, according to WTVT.
A trooper pulled Olsen over after he allegedly hit speeds of more than 100 mph, according to WTSP.
When the trooper asked him about reports of a man sitting on the sunroof of a vehicle, Olsen allegedly replied that he didn’t “know about that.”
Olsen then told the trooper that he wanted to turn himself in, according to an arrest report obtained by WTSP. When asked why, he allegedly said that his wife “treats me like a servant and she’s the mistress and I’m tired of this s—.”
He added that he’d rather “go to jail than go back home,” the report says.
After troopers showed him the video, Olsen allegedly admitted that he had the Cadillac in cruise control and that “the car drives itself and has a gigantic computer.”
He told troopers that he thought at the time that it would be a “nice way to praise God for a minute.”
Olsen was charged with misdemeanor reckless driving.
MILTON, Fla. — A 33-year-old mother is facing multiple counts of child neglect after investigators made a disturbing discovery at her home.
According to WTSP, it all started when teachers at school took notice of one of Jessica Stevenson’s five children.
They all reportedly suffered from poor hygiene, and at least one child was seen wearing the same dirty clothes for a week.
The child told the school’s behavior coach that she couldn’t remember the last time she had a bath or shower.
WTSP said the behavior coach had also seen “hundreds of bugs” crawl out of the girl’s backpack at lunch.
Deputies went to the children’s home where they discovered roaches crawling throughout the house.
The kitchen shelves were empty and there was rotten food in the fridge.
The local TV news station reported that Stevenson’s bedroom was a stark contrast from the rest of the home.
Her space was said to be clean and had “minimal roaches.” She also reportedly had a flat screen TV in there along with snacks.
She has since bonded out of jail.
SARASOTA, Fla. – A Florida father sought by police after a pawn shop owner notified authorities of a man trying to sell a baby now says he did it as a social media prank.
Police began searching for the man after they were notified Tuesday by an employee of A&F Pawn Jewelry and Loan who was concerned for the child’s welfare.
Surveillance video shows the man walk into the store and place a child carrier on the glass counter.
“This is what I got,” he says in the Snapchat video, according to WFLA. “I know no one under 18 in here but he’s barely used, seven and a half months old, what do you think he’s worth?”
The exchange alarmed the employee enough that he called police, sparking a manhunt that involved several law enforcement divisions. Detectives also notified the Florida Department of Children and Family Services.
The man in the video, 43-year-old Brian Slocum, of Sarasota, saw himself on the news and called the Sarasota Police Dept. to give a statement.
“They didn’t find it funny or hilarious at all and there was a lot of resources and time and money that went into it,” Slocum told WFLA.
Slocum, who has not been charged with a crime, said he regrets the poor prank and is speaking out to warn others of the potential consequences.
“There’s nothing in the world I would trade for my son, he’s my world,” Slocum said.
A Florida judge ruled Wednesday that a 3-year-old diagnosed with leukemia must continue chemotherapy treatment against the wishes of his parents.
Noah McAdams, who was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia in April, was ordered by a Hillsborough County judge to complete at least the first phase of prescribed chemotherapy treatment.
His parents, Taylor Bland and Joshua McAdams, had asked the court to allow them to forgo chemotherapy, in favor of alternative treatments, including medicinal cannabis, vitamins, and diet, according to CNN affiliate WFLA.
The judge’s ruling says the parents are free to pursue other alternatives while Noah continues with treatment.
Noah has two more chemotherapy sessions as a part of the first phase of his treatment, which is expected to resume Thursday, according to family attorney Mike Minardi.
He was originally prescribed three phases of chemotherapy treatment. The judge will decide whether Noah must continue with the next two phases of treatment after bone marrow testing is completed. The full chemotherapy treatment plan would last more than three years, Minardi said.
“We’re just happy the child gets to use alternative treatment, at a minimum to combat side effects of chemotherapy and at a maximum help cure the leukemia in his body,” Minardi told CNN.
The next court dates are June 4 and 5.
Parents had lost custody
The ruling also granted Bland and McAdams unsupervised visitation with their son, who was removed from their custody on April 30.
The parents did not bring Noah to the hospital for a scheduled treatment on April 22, and a hospital social worker notified Hillsborough Child Protective Investigations Division, which requested that police perform a welfare check. Noah was located at his grandmother’s house and officers spoke with Bland on the phone.
The Hillsborough Sheriff’s office issued a Missing Endangered Child Alert for Noah on April 29.
The family was found in Kentucky that night and Noah was flown back to Tampa the next day in the custody of child protective services.
Bland and McAdams said that they did not know they weren’t allowed to leave the state. The said they were staying with family in Kentucky and planning to visit a doctor in Cincinnati that week, according to Bland.
The parents had previously informed doctors that they wanted to seek a second opinion and pursue alternatives.
A dependency court judge ruled that Noah would remain in state custody but could live with his maternal grandmother.
CNN reached out to Hillsborough CPS, which is overseen by the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office. Crystal Clark, a spokeswoman, told CNN, “The Child Protective Investigations Division does not and cannot comment on its investigations due to confidentiality per Florida Statute. The case is still active and our Criminal Investigation Division is working with the State Attorney’s Office to determine charges.”
Dissatisfaction with the hospital
Wednesday’s decision also allows Bland and McAdams to complete Noah’s treatment at a different hospital. His parents were dissatisfied with Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital in Tampa, Florida, and are looking to move to another oncology program, Minardi said.
The hospital declined to confirm details of the situation to CNN.
“Our first priority at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital is always the safety and privacy of patients and families. With that in mind, we strictly enforce HIPAA laws that limit the amount of patient information we may release,” said Danielle Caci, public relations manager for Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital.
Pregnant Florida woman asked jail staff for help, lawyers say. Hours later, she was alone in a cell, holding her newborn.
BROWARD COUNTY, Fla. – A mentally ill woman had to give birth alone in a Broward County, Florida, jail cell, almost seven hours after asking for medical assistance, her lawyers said in a letter to the sheriff.
Calling their client’s treatment “outrageous and inhumane,” public defenders Howard Finkelstein and Gordon Weekes Jr. said jail and medical personnel knew Tammy Jackson was full term when she complained early April 10 that she has having contractions and requested help.
The staff did not take Jackson to a hospital, the lawyers further told Sheriff Gregory Tony. Rather, at 3:16 a.m., they tried to contact an on-call doctor, who could not be reached until 7:22 a.m., according to the attorneys.
The doctor said he would check on Jackson when he arrived at the jail, the letter said.
An hour and 38 minutes later, Jackson told her lawyers, she was still in the jail cell by herself, bleeding, “and no urgency was demonstrated by your staff,” the lawyers wrote.
“Six hours and 54 minutes after asking for help, a (Broward Sheriff’s Office) tech notified medical staff that Ms. Jackson was holding her newborn baby in her arms, having delivered the baby without medication or the assistance of a physician,” the letter said.
The sheriff’s office has launched an investigation into the delivery, said spokeswoman Gina Carter. A doctor and two nurses provided Jackson care after she gave birth at the North Broward Bureau, Carter said, and the child “was placed with an appropriate caregiver.”
After providing a short statement via email, Carter said CNN would have to file an official records request to see the incident report filed after Jackson gave birth.
The North Broward Bureau houses minimum- and medium-security offenders and its main mission is to manage “the mentally ill, medically infirm and special needs inmate population,” according to the sheriff’s office.
Since Jackson’s arrest in April, her lawyers said, she had been placed in an infirmary for monitoring.
“The birth was not premature or unexpected,” their letter said. “Yet in her time of extreme need and vulnerability, BSO neglected to provide Ms. Jackson with the assistance and medical care all mothers need and deserve.
“Not only was Ms. Jackson’s health callously ignored, the life of her child was also put at grave risk.”
How the incident will affect the woman’s “already fragile mental health” remains to be determined, they lawyers said.
Other inmates heard Jackson’s screams during labor, CNN affiliate WPLG reported. Jackson’s mother, Shirley Nixon, told the station she did not realize her daughter, who she said is bipolar and schizophrenic, had given birth in a jail cell rather than a hospital.
“I figured she was born in the hospital,” Nixon said of her granddaughter. “They didn’t tell me none of this. Where were they?”
The grandmother told the station the baby girl’s name is Miranda Latrice Nixon.
Two Florida teens prayed for help after being swept out to sea during a swim. A boat called the ‘Amen’ came to save them
(CNN) — When Eric Wagner bought the “Amen” six years ago, he had no way of knowing the boat would be the actual answer to two Florida teenagers’ prayers.
Wagner and his crew were sailing the 53-foot yacht from Delray Beach, Florida, to New Jersey last month when they heard “a desperate scream” over the engines, wind and choppy waves.
They were about 2 miles off shore, so Wagner didn’t believe his ears at first.
Then they saw an arm flailing in the water behind them.
“It was kind of surprising we heard them. Especially when they were 150 yards away, almost 200 yards away,” he said. “But it was definitely the scream that we heard, and that’s why we were looking around.”
They turned the boat around and raced to get close enough to throw life jackets and a line.
“It felt like forever,” he said.
Tyler Smith and Heather Brown were shivering uncontrollably and could barely talk.
Smith and Brown told CNN affiliate WJAX they had been in the water for almost two hours before they were rescued.
The 17-year-olds had gone swimming at Vilano Beach, near St. Augustine, to celebrate senior skip day and got caught in a current that pulled them father and farther away from land.
They were getting weaker and feared they wouldn’t make it, so they started praying.
“I cried out, ‘if you really do have a plan for us, like, come on. Just bring something.’” Smith told WJAX.
That’s when they saw the “Amen.”
“The first words that came out of my mouth [when they pulled her aboard] were, ‘God is real,’” Brown told WJAX.
Wagner said they thought the teens might have hypothermia, so they covered them with towels, blankets and comforters and microwaved cups of water for them to drink.
“Within 10 minutes of getting them on the boat, they were back to normal and talking normally,” he said. They called the Coast Guard and were able to get Brown and Smith to a rescue boat after 30 or 40 minutes.
Wagner said the rescue has strengthened his faith.
“There were too many coincidences, in my opinion, for this to be a coincidence,” he said. “I truly believe it was divine intervention. It had nothing to do with me. I was just put there at the right place at the right time and I did the same thing anyone else would have done, pulled them aboard.”
Wagner said he plans to restore the boat, and had been thinking about changing the name, but that’s off the table now.
“Definitely not, I’ll keep that name, ‘Amen,’ forever,” he said.
PORT RICHEY, Fla. – The Port Richey Police Department was forced to evict somebody scaly from a nearby hair salon.
According to the department’s Facebook page, an alligator wandered too far from his home and ended up at Hair Obsessions. There, three law enforcement officers were able to corral the gator and return him to his home.
Police said they did not interrupt any of the alligator’s normal beauty habits, as he was not due for a cut or color.
FORT MYERS BEACH, Fla. – Wildlife officials are asking citizens to reduce single-use plastic consumption after a dolphin who had a stomach full of garbage passed away after being found stranded on a Florida beach.
According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, the female rough-toothed dolphin was found stranded on Fort Meyers beach Tuesday.
A necropsy revealed the dolphin had a stomach full of trash, including part of a rubber balloon and two plastic bags.
“Although a significant finding, there are many additional factors to consider, such as underlying illness, disease and maternal separation, before a final cause of stranding and death for the dolphin can be determined,” officials wrote on Facebook.
These samples will reportedly be sent for analysis to determine the cause of death.
Meanwhile, officials are asking citizens to reduce single use plastic and to not release balloons into the environment.