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Latest from Sarah Thompson

    The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office is releasing a new composite image of an individual they believe has information about a murder that happened back on Sunday, February 4, 2018. Police say Cedric Devonne Walker, who was also known as Celine Walker, was found dead at the Extended Stay hotel located at 10020 Skinner Lake Drive, near the St. Johns Town Center.  According to JSO, a witness provided information about a person they say at the hotel that day, leading to the development of this composite image.  If you recognize who this person is, you're urged to contact the Sheriff's Office at 904-630-0500. To remain anonymous, contact Crime Stoppers at 1-866-845-TIPS.
  • With Florida's Primary Election Day quickly approaching, WOKV is breaking down everything you need to know ahead of August 28th. VOTER REGISTRATION DEADLINE:  In order to vote in the primaries, the Florida Division of Election says you needed to register to vote ahead of the July 30, 2018, deadline. If you missed that, you can register to vote between now and October 9, 2018, in order to vote in the General Election on November 6th.  SAMPLE BALLOTS:  Florida is a closed primary election state-- meaning only voters who are registered members of a political party can vote for that party's candidates or nominees. That means your sample ballot will vary, depending on which political party you're registered in. Ballots will also vary by county.  You can access sample ballots, by visiting the Supervisor of Elections website for your specific county. Links are posted below: Baker County Clay County Duval County Nassau County St. Johns County Sample ballots have also been mailed out. WHAT TO BRING: In order to cast your ballot, you’ll need to bring a photo and signature ID. This can include a Florida Driver’s License, Florida ID, a US passport, a military ID, a student ID, among other options. You can read more about ID requirements HERE. If you fail to bring proper identification, you will be issued a provisional ballot. HOW TO FIND YOUR PRECINCT Baker County voters, click HERE Clay County voters, click HERE Duval County, click HERE Nassau County, click HERE St. Johns County, click HERE EARLY VOTING DATES: Baker County  August 16, 2018 - August 25, 2018  Clay County  August 18, 2018 - August 25, 2018  Duval County August 13, 2018- August 26, 2018 Nassau County  August 17, 2018 - August 25, 2018  St. Johns County  August 18, 2018 - August 25, 2018
  • The search is on to find the man responsible for an apparent road rage shooting out toward the beaches.  According to the incident report we've now obtained from the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office, the victim told police he turned onto Hodges Boulevard, just before 2:30 AM Friday, from Richmond Park North--not far from Beach Boulevard-- when he believes he may have cut off someone on a motorcycle.  In the report, the victim tells police there were no words of gestures exchanged, so he continued driving on Hodges Boulevard.  A short time later, the victim says he then heard a gunshot and realized he'd been hit in the arm. The report says he pulled over at the time to call police.  The victim is expected to be OK, but there's not much of a suspect description at this time. The report only describes the suspect as a white man who was driving a black Harley Davidson.
  • Nearly two months after a young father was fatally shot in Jacksonville Beach, after what police described as an apparent fight, we're getting our first, detailed look at what a witness says happened that night.  WOKV has now obtained new arrest reports and affidavits for arrests warrants from the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office, for the two suspects tied to the June 24th death of 23-year-old Leon Bennett.  Shaquille Walker, 25, and Jose Emanuel Lebron, 29, were recently extradited to Duval County, after turning themselves into police in Honolulu, Hawaii.  In Walker's and Lebron's arrest reports, it's revealed the two are actually brothers, which is something Jacksonville Beach police have not previously disclosed.  The reports say Walker and Lebron were out at Jax Beach that night for a friend's birthday. That friend, who spoke to investigators and witnessed what happened, said they were gathered near First Street, when they came into contact with another group of individuals, one of whom was Bennett.  During that interaction, the reports say Walker's and Lebron's friend tried to talk to a girl, who turned out to be Bennett's girlfriend. In the reports, the friend told police he apologized for talking to her, but that someone with Bennett slapped Lebron, knocking him to the ground, initiating a fight.  A larger fight broke out, but the friend told investigators, that he, Walker, and Lebron tried to leave the area and go to their cars. During this time, he told police Bennett continued 'talking trash.'  Eventually the group got into a car, where they then re-engaged Bennett and the other group, according to the reports.  The reports say at some point during that interaction, the friend told police Bennett walked over, opened the car door, and tried to punch Walker and even tried to pull Walker out of the car. As that was happening, the friend says Walker allegedly pulled out a pistol and fired twice toward Bennett.  Walker is charged with carrying a concealed firearm and tampering with evidence, while Lebron is only charged with tampering with evidence.  At this time, neither are charged directly with Bennett's death.
  • With the CDC monitoring measles cases across 21 states, we've confirmed with the Florida Department of Health, seven cases have been reported in our state.  The Florida Department of Health says those seven cases have been tied to three different counties, including one in Northeast Florida:  - 3 in Miami-Dade County  - 3 in Pinellas County  - 1 in Duval County  The department says the best way to protect yourself against measles is to get vaccinated, as the illness is spread through the air, including coughing and sneezing.  WHAT TO WATCH FOR: Signs and symptoms of the measles The agency provided the following guidelines for vaccinations: “Two doses of measles, mumps, rubella (MMR) vaccine are recommended routinely for children, with the first dose at age 12 through 15 months and the second dose at ages four through six years. Adults should be vaccinated with at least one dose of MMR vaccine, with a second dose recommended for those at higher risk such as international travelers and health care workers.” According to the CDC, from January 1st, 2018 through July 14, 2018, there were 107 reported cases of the measles. In all of 2017, there were 118 cases.
  • As the search continues for Abrion Price, the third and final suspect tied to the Westside fatal shooting of 7-year-old Heidy Rivas-Villanueva, the newly appointed City Council member for that district, Terrance Freeman, is laying out how he hopes to address safety concerns among neighbors. Freeman, speaking with our partner Action News Jax, says while he hopes to get more officers from the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office patrolling the streets, he believes it's about helping kids.  GALLERY: Community gathers to remember 7-year-old girl killed, after getting caught in crossfire on the Westside He says he wants to partner up with community organizations, like the Kids Hope Alliance, that give kids positive opportunities.  'To offer kids and teens safe spaces... as opposed to being drawn into this life of crime, they're more attracted to this opportunity to get exposed to STEM [Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics], and different types of endeavors that could help them with careers,' says Freeman.  One of the suspects arrested by JSO is just 17-years-old. Investigators say he and another man set up a robbery, disguised as a gun sale, leading up the shooting.   Freeman says he wants families in the district to know that the City hears them and their safety concerns.
  • A day after a woman was shot on Jacksonville's Southside, we've now confirmed the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office has made an arrest.  WOKV told you on Tuesday, when JSO was called to the Villas at Kings Crossing apartments on Old Kings Road South to respond to a shooting. Now, we've obtained the arrest report for the victim's husband, identified by police as Dheyaa Mohammed, 35.  In his arrest report, investigators believe Mohammed fled the area before police arrived and then returned, where he began shouting that he had killed his wife. Neighbors reported hearing similar things.  Mohammed was taken into custody at the time, but we've now learned he's been officially charged with attempted murder.  Police say his wife suffered two gunshot wounds and was last described as being in life-threatening condition.  The arrest report didn't give any motive to the shooting, however, a large chunk of Mohammed's comments were redacted.
  • The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office is releasing surveillance photos of an armed robbery suspect they're working to identify. According to JSO, this suspect was caught on camera robbing Tunis Seafood, Wings, and Subs on Emerson Street, back on August 9th.  Police say he entered the business, approached the counter, and handed the employee a note demanding money. At that time, investigators say he displayed a gun. The suspect was last seen on foot, after getting cash.  If you know who this man is, you're urged to contact the sheriff's office at (904) 630-0500 or Crime Stoppers at 1-866-845-TIPS.
  • With the massive, 2,900-acre Wildlight community under development in Nassau County, UF Health is breaking ground on a new comprehensive medical office building for the area. UF Health says the facility will hold 40,000 square feet of office and medical space covering all sorts of medical disciplines, including primary care, pediatrics, obstetrics and gynecology, mental health services, dentistry, as well as an urgent care center.  While the facility will be coming to Wildlight, the CEO of UF Health, Dr. Leon Haley Jr., says it'll serve the community at large.  'It just so happens that our partnership with the Wildlight property-- with Raydient-- will actually fill a need, not only for the citizens of Wildlight as they continue to move in over the next five, ten, fifteen years, but really, also, for members of the county,' explains Haley.  UF Health says this facility is just the first of two facilities planned for the area, as they want to look beyond health issues and instead focus on wellness.  'We're going to do a partnership with the YMCA of the First Coast and build about a 30,000 square foot building with them, in a partnership fashion, that we'll have inside the Wildlight property, so that citizens of Nassau County, as well as citizens of the Wildlight property, will be able to access and use,' says Haley.  At that facility, they hope to offer nutrition counseling, diabetes counseling, and rehabilitation services.  We're told the facilities are being funded and financed by the University of Florida, in partnership with UF Health, with the help of a few developers in the area.  UF Health says they aim to open up their medical space building and the YMCA building by October 2019.
  • Only hours after the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office announced two arrests in connection to the fatal shooting of 7-year-old Heidy Rivas Villanueva and an active search for a third suspect, the community gathered for a vigil in her honor Tuesday evening.  An estimated 150 people turned out, with family, friends, community members, JSO officers, and even strangers all paying their respects to Heidy.  Heidy’s family got emotional as they arrived to see the massive crowd already waiting. GALLERY: Community gathers for vigil to remember 7-year-old Heydi Rivas Villanueva A priest who addressed the crowd, said, 'It's not goodbye, but see you later.' Heidy was supposed to start first grade this week at Sadie Tillis Elementary School. Her family says she loved to paint and to study English. Her father says they hope to hold her funeral in her home country of Honduras. Heidy 10-year-old cousin was also attending the vigil and was very emotional while speaking to us after we got permission to speak with him from his parents. We’ve received clarification from Heidy’s family on the correct spelling of the 7-year-old’s name. When the incident first happened JSO ID’d her with a different spelling and that’s why you have seen her name spelled different ways.
  • 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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  • Police in New Hampshire are investigating the death of an elderly woman whose body was discovered when the woman’s adult son had a pizza delivered to their home. The New Hampshire Union Leader reported that the woman, identified by neighbors as Florence Cotter, of Salem, was found dead around 3 p.m. Wednesday. Her son, Gary Cotter, had to be removed from the home through a hole that first responders busted through an exterior wall.  Salem police Capt. Joel Dolan told the Union Leader that a pizza delivery man called police for a welfare check after he attempted to deliver a pizza and Gary Cotter asked him to slide the pizza in through a window instead of approaching the door. Dolan told the newspaper that the delivery man could see hoarding conditions inside the home -- and Florence Cotter’s body lying on the floor. The odor of decay could also be detected near the home Wednesday, the Union Leader said.  A neighbor, Pam Avallone, told the newspaper her daughter had been home when police arrived and had watched as officers with a megaphone tried for two hours to get Gary Cotter to leave the house.  First responders ultimately busted through the wall below a window. “They had a really hard time getting him out,” Avallone told the newspaper.  Avallone said she had not seen Florence Cotter for a couple of years. Other neighbors told the Eagle-Tribune in North Andover, Massachusetts, that they has seen her outside the home earlier this year. “We thought we saw her earlier this summer on our way to the beach,” Tony Difruscia told the Eagle-Tribune. “It was a hot day and we remember questioning why an older woman like that was outside weeding.” >> Read more trending news Another neighbor, Joe Bolis, told the Union Leader that he had been delivering the Cotters’ mail and mowing their lawn for a while. He said he had also been bringing groceries to Gary Cotter through a window for about a year because Cotter had an infection in his legs.  “He’s been sick for a while,” Bolis, 80, said. He said Florence Cotter, who was in her 80s, suffered from Alzheimer’s disease.  The death investigation is being conducted by the New Hampshire Attorney General’s Office in conjunction with the state police’s Major Crime Unit and the Salem Police Department, a statement on the attorney general’s website said.
  • A 22-year-old North Carolina driver has been charged with street racing and reckless driving after authorities say he reached speeds of 198 mph. William Jefferson was speeding on U.S. 1 near the Triangle Expressway in Wake County last month, WTVD reported. >> Read more trending news  According to the Highway Patrol, somebody sent a seven-minute YouTube clip shared on Facebook as part of a complaint, The News & Observer reported. “It’s one reason why I don't want my kids on the roads late at night,” Maryanne McAdams told WTVD. “I don't have a driver yet -- we're about a year away, but it's that kind of stuff that makes me really nervous.” The video shows Jefferson in his Dodge Challenger “Hellcat,” allegedly driving nearly 130 mph over the speed limit on U.S. 1, WTVD found. The video also shows Jefferson take the car over 100 mph in a 40 mph zone, police said. “I don't think that road is particularly dangerous but anybody going 198 mph and it's going to be particularly dangerous,' McAdams told WTVD. “It's really a miracle that nobody was hurt or killed in that.” Prosecutors have asked for permission to examine Jefferson’s cellphone. A search warrant was returned to the Wake County clerk’s office Wednesday, The News & Observer reported. Jefferson is expected back in court in September.
  • A McDonald’s employee in West Monroe, Louisiana is facing identity theft charges after being accused of taking photos of customer credit cards while she worked behind the front counter of the restaurant, police said. >> Read more trending news  Zynique Mitchell, 18, told officers that she took photographs of the credit cards during work and attempted to use them to purchase items online later, the Monroe News Star reported. Officers reported that photos of credit cards were found on her phone, according to court documents.  Mitchell told police she tried to use one of the cards but couldn’t complete the purchase, according to police. During the interview, officers searched Mitchell’s purse and found two unmarked pill bottles, according to court papers. Mitchell was arrested Thursday on three counts of identity theft and two counts of sale, distribution or possession of a legend drug without a prescription. She is currently in jail in lieu of a $6,500 bond.
  • Jacksonville police are working to find whoever is responsible for a deadly shooting Sunday night at an extended stay hotel near the St. Johns Town Center.   Police were called around 8pm to Extended Stay America on Skinner Lake Drive regarding a shooting.  36-year-old Cedric DeVonne Walker was found dead inside a room.  Walker’s last known address was in Brandon, near Tampa.   The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office is now calling this a murder investigation.  Anyone with information about the shooting is asked to call the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office at 904-630-0500 or Crime Stoppers at 866-845-TIPS.
  • The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office is releasing a new composite image of an individual they believe has information about a murder that happened back on Sunday, February 4, 2018. Police say Cedric Devonne Walker, who was also known as Celine Walker, was found dead at the Extended Stay hotel located at 10020 Skinner Lake Drive, near the St. Johns Town Center.  According to JSO, a witness provided information about a person they say at the hotel that day, leading to the development of this composite image.  If you recognize who this person is, you're urged to contact the Sheriff's Office at 904-630-0500. To remain anonymous, contact Crime Stoppers at 1-866-845-TIPS.

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