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Latest from Sarah Thompson

    Getting diagnosed with cancer is something most people consider one of the scariest things to imagine, but for Kathleen Patti, she went through it twice.  She was diagnosed the first time at 7-years-old with Rhabdomyosarcoma and underwent treatment at Nemour's and Wolfson Children's Hospital.  Patti says at the age, you don't really understand what's happening  'Being like a 7-year-old with cancer was, actually, pretty fun for the most part. You just don't have any idea of what's going, so everything was more like, 'Oh, we're painting today,' or, 'Oh, there's someone here with a bag of stuffed animals',' explains Patti.  But she says when she was re-diagnosed at 14-years-old, with the same cancer, it was more advanced, and a lot harder to go through.  'I was just kind of angry at everybody and didn't want to talk to anyone,' says Patti.  She says it's truly her parents and the Child Life Specialist at Nemours-- Miss Joli-- that helped get her through that time in her life.  'Miss Joli was the one who went in there and was like, 'I know we're angry, but we're going to keep having fun and we're going to do this greatly, and have an awesome time.' So, she was always there to kind of just talk to you,' explains Patti.  Patti says her experience with cancer has really shaped her entire outlook on life.  'One thing I learned is to really appreciate the little things in life. It's really made me grateful in my life, that I can see things from a different perspective from most kids or even most adults,' Patti shares.  She says while most people view cancer patients and cancer survivors as inspirational, she says Miss Joli is the true hero, with the cape in the background, encouraging you to enjoy life.
  • A Jacksonville man accused of human trafficking-related charges has now pleaded guilty. State Attorney Melissa Nelson says Patrick Trottie, 44, agreed to a plea agreement, where in exchange for pleading guilty, he will serve 10 years in Florida State Prison, followed by 10 years probation.  Upon his release, Trottie will also be required to register as a sex offender.  WOKV told you in May of 2017, that Trottie was accused of offering multiple female victims heroin and then not letting them leave his hotel room, until they paid off their debts via prostitution services.  Trottie would allegedly set the victims up profiles online, set up 'dates', and then stand as a lookout nearby. The documents also claim Trottie would get violent if any of the victims attempted to leave.
  • Just over a week after the Jacksonville Beach Police Department issued two arrest warrants tied to the shooting death of a young father, the two suspects have now turned themselves in to investigators in Honolulu, Hawaii.  WOKV told you on July 3rd that the suspects, Shaquille Walker and Jose Lebron, were both wanted for tampering with evidence, while Walker was also wanted for carrying a concealed firearm.  Neither are charged directly in the death of Leon Bennett, 23, who was fatally shot after what first started as an apparent fight outside the Pier Cantina restaurant.  It's not clear why the two suspects were in Hawaii. We're told they're now awaiting extradition back to Duval County.
  • Emergency repairs to a natural gas line have forced crews to shut down Hypolita Street in St. Augustine to traffic, between Avenida Menendez to St. George Street. We're told the closure is expected to remain in effect from now through the end of the day Friday, July 13th. The road while remain open to any pedestrians and businesses will be operating as usual.  As repairs are underway, we’re told vehicles may access both Toques Place and The Court parking areas from Cuna Street and exiting onto Hypolita Street heading west.  For more information, you can contact the Public Works Department at (904) 825-1040.
  • The Jacksonville Beach Police Department is releasing new information, in hopes of finding the gunman responsible for a recent shooting on the beach.  According to police, a victim was shot in the back in the 400 block of the ocean front, right near the pier, on July 2nd, between 3:30 AM and 4:30 AM.  Investigators say they have now found surveillance video showing two vehicles parked in the pier parking lot, close to where the shooting took place. Police are hoping to find the drivers of these vehicles to see if they witnessed anything suspicious or heard anything that could help in the case.  If you were in either of these vehicles or know who was, call Detective Corporal D. Watts at (904) 247-6341.
  • Months after the St. Augustine City Commission opted to keep a Confederate war memorial in place in the Plaza de la Constitucion in downtown, but with added contextualization, we've now learned what's being recommended. After spending over 20 hours together in meetings discussing the city's history and the history of the memorial, the Confederate Memorial Contextualization Advisory Committee is now recommending adding four plaques to the existing structure.  The plan is to place these four plaques at the bases of each side of the memorial. Each plaque will share a brief story from history with each relating to the following categories: Freedom, Sacrifice, Memory and Interpret.  According to documents released by the city commission, the 'Freedom' plaque would focus on St. Augustine during the Civil War and the Emancipation Proclamation.  The 'Sacrifice' plaque would focus on the St. Augustine men who fought on both sides, the Confederacy and the Union.  As for the 'Memory' plaque, that would emphasize the monument as an memorial to those who lost their lives fighting.  Lastly, the 'Interpret' plaque would discuss the changing view points of the monument, addressing those who view the memorial as a noble reminder of personal sacrifice and then those who see it as a painful reminder of white supremacy.  You can read more about the recommendations for each plaque by clicking HERE.  As for the plaques themselves, it's being recommended to use symbolic materials, chosen specifically for the story it tells.
  • After putting out an alert last week, the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office says a robbery suspect accused of targeting older victims outside of local Wamarts has been arrested. Jacksonville police saying it was the Jacksonville Beach Police Department who encountered the suspect, now identified as James Gordon Jr., in an unrelated investigation.  JSO says once Gordon was questioned by their robbery unit, he admitted to the following three incidents:  June 28, 2018 – Walmart located at 6830 Normandy Boulevard - Robbery  July 2, 2018 – Publix located at 4400 Town Center Parkway – Grand Theft  July 2, 2018 – Walmart located at 8808 Beach Boulevard - Robbery  At last check, Gordon was being held on $105,000 bond.
  • North Florida Shipyards Inc., a shipbuilding and repair company with a facility in Jacksonville, is facing $271,061 in proposed penalties, after a deadly accident involving one of their employees. The US Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited North Florida Shipyards, after they say a worker drowned at their Commodores Point Facility when a pressured air manifold struck him and knocked him into the St. Johns River.  'As this case demonstrates, it is important for employers to identify existing hazards, and follow required safety procedures to protect workers from serious injuries,' says OSHA Jacksonville Acting Area Office Director Buddy Underwood.  North Florida Shipyards has 15 business days from receiving its citations and proposed penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA, or contest the findings.  WOKV told you back in January when a man fell into the St. Johns River near the North Florida Shipyards.
  • The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office is investigating after a man was apparently fatally stabbed in Hillcrest, as his roommate was tied up in another room. According to JSO, the surviving victim told officers he opened his front door Monday morning, to find an unknown person who asked to see his roommate. He says this person then pulled out a knife and led him to a back room where he was tied up.  As he was tied up, he told officers he heard a struggle going on somewhere else in the house. When the man was eventually able to free himself, he found his roommate unresponsive and lying on the floor. JSO says they're still working to interview the surviving victim and plan on releasing details about the suspect at a later time.
  • An active investigation is underway on Jacksonville's Westside, after a man out walking his dog stumbles on a body. According to the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office, the victim at the intersection of East Bilken Drive and Lafore Road. JSO describes him as a white man, in either his late teens or early twenties.  Police say the man's body did have trauma, so they're homicide unit is investigating.  At this time, there's no suspect information.
  • Sarah Thompson

    Sarah Thompson is the Afternoon Producer and Evening Anchor for WOKV and has been with the team since October 2013. She's a University of Florida graduate and a Jacksonville-native.

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  • A nonprofit organization has announced a major donation to help pay off the mortgage on a slain Massachusetts police officer's family home. Weymouth police Sgt. Michael Chesna, 42, was shot and killed Sunday in the line of duty.  >> On Boston25News.com: Weymouth police Officer Michael Chesna posthumously promoted to sergeant The Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation is providing the first $100,000 toward the mortgage and is challenging others to support the family through the initiative. Any money raised exceeding the mortgage will go directly to Chesna's wife and two children. >> On Boston25News.com: Court docs: Man stood over Weymouth officer and shot him 10 times The foundation, established in memory of a fallen 9/11 firefighter, supports military and first responders who are killed in the line of duty. In addition to his service with the Weymouth Police Department, Chesna was also a military veteran who served in Iraq and Afghanistan. >> Read more trending news  Frank Siller, chairman and CEO of the foundation, will join Weymouth police Chief Richard Grimes at the Weymouth Police Department at 3 p.m. Wednesday to make the official announcement. Click here if you’d like to donate.
  • A Florida mother said her son saved her life in the seconds before a crash that claimed his life. >> Watch the news report here Greg Yutuc, 22, was the only person killed in a three-vehicle crash near Jacksonville's Buckman Bridge on Saturday afternoon. >> On ActionNewsJax.com: PHOTOS: University of North Florida student saves mom's life in I-295 crash, dad says Stitches lined Gerry Yutuc’s bruised eyelid and his wife, Charina, had a seat belt burn across her chest. “All I remember is seeing that red car and we are spinning around,” Gerry Yutuc said. They were headed back from their family vacation and were driving on I-295 with their three kids in their van when state troopers said a 21-year-old driver rear-ended another car, then cut off their van. “It was too late for me,” Yutuc said. Their son, Greg, was sitting in the passenger seat and grabbed the steering wheel at the last second. “So the impact could be on his side, to avoid the impact on mom,” Yutuc said. >> Read more trending news  Yutuc said the van flipped. “I looked around and saw four people. My wife, my two daughters and without Greg,” Yutuc said. Greg was thrown from the vehicle and an officer on scene told them their son didn’t make it. Florida Highway Patrol said Greg was not wearing a seat belt. “We didn’t have a chance to hug him and say goodbye,” Yutuc said. Since Greg was a child, he’s been on several mission trips and had plans of becoming a missionary, his parents said. “His heart is really sharing the gospel,” Yutuc said. In his 22 years, Yutuc said his only son affected many lives. “I know we have a great son, but I didn’t know the extent of his influence,” Yutuc said. >> On ActionNewsJax.com: Drivers concerned about safety on Buckman Bridge It was unconditional, selfless love they said Greg will be most remembered by. “He inspired us and we want to be an inspiration,” Yutuc said. The family said the community support has been overwhelming.
  • Tropical Storm Maria continues to churn in the Atlantic Ocean. The deadly storm has claimed lives on multiple islands in its path. >> Read more trending news 
  • “Deadliest Catch” reality TV fisherman Edgar Hansen pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting a teenage girl at a home near Seattle, but isn’t expected to serve any jail time. Hansen, 47, received a 364-day suspended jail sentence after pleading guilty to  fourth degree sexual assault with sexual motivation, the Associated Press reported. He was also ordered to undergo a sexual deviancy evaluation and give a DNA sample to authorities.  >> Read more trending news  According to court documents obtained by KIRO 7, a 16-year-old girl told her therapist that Hansen sexually assaulted her at a Mountlake Terrace home in September. >>Related: ‘Deadliest Catch’ star Blake Painter found dead in Oregon home A detective contacted Hansen’s wife, who confronted her husband about the allegations, court documents show. She told police that he denied the accusations at first, but eventually admitted to touching the girl inappropriately. >>Related: ‘Deadliest Catch’ star gets probation in Uber driver assault Hansen is deck boss and crew member of the Seattle-based crabbing boat featured on the Discovery Channel show “Deadliest Catch.”  The boat’s captain, Sig Hansen, is Edgar Hansen’s brother.
  • A registered sex offender wanted in three separate Houston-area slayings since Friday was caught early Tuesday morning following a brief police chase not far from where authorities say his alleged crime spree began. Jose Gilberto Rodriguez, 46, of Houston, was taken into custody while driving a gray 2017 Nissan Sentra that law enforcement officials said was stolen from one of the victims.  Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez said during a media briefing Tuesday morning that an observant citizen called authorities shortly after 6 a.m. to report seeing the vehicle in Cypress, an unincorporated community northwest of Houston.  “It’s possible that he was casing the area in search of his next victim,” Gonzalez said during the briefing, which was attended and recorded by the Houston Chronicle.  A deputy in the area spotted the car and a 14-minute pursuit ensued. Rodriguez was taken into custody just before 7 a.m. A pistol was recovered from the stolen car, the sheriff said.  “We’re very relieved this morning,” Gonzalez said about Rodriguez’s capture.  >> Related story: Shooting deaths at mattress stores in Houston are linked, police say The sheriff said his agency had deputies positioned in the Cypress area before the suspect was spotted because the first crime attributed to Rodriguez, a July 9 home invasion and robbery, took place less than half a mile from where he was ultimately captured.  Rodriguez’s parents also live in the area and he grew up there, the sheriff confirmed.  The first homicide that Rodriguez is suspected of committing also took place in Cypress. Pamela Johnson, 62, was found shot to death in her home there Friday evening.  Gonzalez said during a news conference over the weekend that Johnson’s family became worried when no one could get in touch with her. The last time family members spoke to Johnson was around noon on July 10, the day after the home invasion about two and a half miles away.  >> Read more trending news Detectives investigating Johnson’s slaying found that personal property was stolen, including Johnson’s maroon 2004 Chrysler PT Cruiser, the sheriff said. The PT Cruiser was found Saturday evening at Willowbrook Mall after a citizen reported seeing the vehicle aedbandoned in the parking lot. Mall surveillance video footage showed a man -- later identified by investigators as Rodriguez -- park the vehicle around 11 a.m. that morning. The man was seen on video walking through the mall and exiting the building on the opposite side from where he abandoned the victim’s car.  Around 7 p.m. that same night, the body of Mattress Firm manager Allie Barrow, 28, was found by a fellow employee, stuffed between two mattresses in the back of the store. The Mattress Firm store where Barrow was slain is in a strip mall across the street from Willowbrook Mall.  Barrow had been shot in the head, investigators said.  Gonzalez and Houston police Chief Art Acevedo, who held a joint news conference Monday afternoon to identify Rodriguez as a person of “strong interest” and ask for the public’s help in tracking him down, reported that a third homicide took place that morning at a Mattress One store in Houston, where a man was found shot to death.  The Nissan Rodriguez was driving when captured was taken from the scene of the Mattress One homicide, officials said. KPRC in Houston identified the victim of that killing as Edward Magana, 57.  A fourth person, a 22-year-old Metro Lift driver, was also shot in the abdomen and robbed Monday morning in Houston. Acevedo said that the bus driver was expected to survive.  The motive for the crimes was not known, Gonzalez said Tuesday morning. Neither he nor Acevedo detailed how Rodriguez was tied to all the crimes.  Rodriguez was released from prison in September, the Chronicle reported. Texas Department of Criminal Justice spokesman Jeremy Desel told the newspaper that his release was mandated by law, due to the amount of time he’d already served. Rodriguez, whose violent criminal history dates back to at least 1989, was on parole and was supposed to be on supervised release until 2023. He was ordered to wear an ankle monitor, but the Chronicle reported that he had tampered with it in the days before police and sheriff’s deputies began searching for him in connection with the homicides.  It was unclear if he was still wearing the disabled device when he was arrested.  Records accessed by the Chronicle showed that Rodriguez was sent to prison for attempted sex abuse, burglary and auto theft charges in 1989. Then 17, he was sentenced to 25 years in prison. While in prison, he was charged in a theft case out of Montgomery County, for which he was sentenced to 10 years, with that time to run concurrently with his sentence on the previous charges.  Rodriguez was also found with a weapon while serving time, the Chronicle reported. Another 10 years was added to his sentence.  He served 28 years in prison before his release on parole last fall. Texas’ sex offender registry shows that Rodriguez was classified as high risk. 

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