Originally created 02/28/05

Across the southeast



Surveillance photo may show missing girl

HOMOSASSA, FLA. - Investigators on Sunday released a surveillance camera picture showing a man with two children at a convenience store hours after a missing 9-year-old girl was last seen in her bedroom about a half-mile away.

Relatives of Jessica Marie Lunsford saw the videotape and didn't think the girl in the picture looked like Jessica, but the Citrus County sheriff's office asked for the public's help in following it up.

The tape from a Circle K store recorded a time of 4:57 a.m. Thursday. Jessica, who lived with her father and grandparents, was last seen when her grandmother tucked her into bed Wednesday night; her father discovered she was missing the next morning.

Tornado in Florida destroys 14 homes

PALM BAY, FLA. - A tornado touched down Sunday, destroying at least 14 homes and injuring at least five people, city officials said.

One woman was struck by debris as she worked in her yard when the tornado came through shortly before 2 p.m., said city spokeswoman Yvonne Martinez.

The tornado left at least 14 homes uninhabitable, including some that had been repaired after damage from hurricanes Charley, Jeanne and Frances last summer.

Crash with bus leaves one dead, eight hurt

JACKSONVILLE, FLA. - One person died and eight were injured Sunday when a bus carrying Canadian high school students crashed into backed-up traffic on Interstate 95, causing a chain reaction involving seven vehicles, officials said.

Adam Cherry, 35, of Jacksonville, died when two vehicles overturned on top of his Ford Explorer, said Florida Highway Patrol Lt. Bill Leeper.

Two people were critically injured and six others were hospitalized.

The two bus drivers had just switched off when the bus approached backed-up traffic caused by an earlier tractor-trailer crash, Lt. Leeper said.

The bus didn't stop and hit a vehicle that was towing a small utility trailer, which started the chain reaction, he said.

Tiger is captured after escaping cage

WELLINGTON, FLA. - A 500-pound Bengal tiger roamed free for more than two hours inside a sanctuary after escaping from his cage when a worker didn't fully latch it after a feeding.

The 4-year-old tiger, who meandered about and sniffed at horses at the sanctuary, was captured by wildlife officials shortly before noon Saturday. Wildlife officials used two tranquilizer darts to slow the tiger, who eventually became groggy and went to sleep.

Judy Berens, the tiger's owner, was cited for escaped captive wildlife, said Willie Puz, a Florida Fish & Wildlife Commission spokesman.

Man is charged with stealing horse feed

SHREVEPORT, LA. - A Texas man has been arrested after an investigation into thefts of truckloads of horse feed from a Shreveport mill.

Eddie Boykins, 44, of Center, Texas, was charged with unauthorized use of a movable after the theft of an 18-foot flatbed trailer from a Keatchie residence.

Sheriff's investigators suspect the trailer was used to load some of the livestock feed removed from the Land O'Lakes Feed mill over several months.