Cold case murder solved more than 20 years later, Florida police say

Published: Thursday, March 09, 2017 @ 11:44 AM
Updated: Thursday, March 09, 2017 @ 11:44 AM

            A suspect was arrested in a 1994 murder case in Jacksonville, Fla. after more than 20 years, even though police had suspected Ronnie Leon Hyde for years.
            Alex Wong/Getty Images
A suspect was arrested in a 1994 murder case in Jacksonville, Fla. after more than 20 years, even though police had suspected Ronnie Leon Hyde for years.(Alex Wong/Getty Images)

A Florida man has been arrested and charged in the 1994 cold case murder of a Nassau C0unty teenager.

Police took Ronnie Leon Hyde, 60, of Jacksonville Beach into custody this week in the killing of 16-year-old Fred Laster.

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The nine-page arrest warrant revealed that a bloody flannel shirt, blood-stained knives, a blood-soaked mattress cover and bathtub non-slip safety pads were recovered at a Columbia County gas station where Laster’s dismembered body was found in June 1994.

A medical examiner was not able to identify the vicgtim during an autopsy, but determined that the body belonged to a man between 16 and 19 years old.

Laster’s sister reported him missing in 1995 and said her brother was last seen with family friend Ronnie Hyde, but the case fell through the cracks. It was reassigned to a new detective in 2012 and he contacted the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children in 2013.

But it wasn’t until February of 2016 that Laster’s remains were finally identified. Officials matched the teenager's DNA with that of his twin sister, who they found after the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children posted an online article about the case, according to the warrant.

Last April investigators then used garbage left outside Hyde’s Jacksonville Beach home to match his DNA with forensic evidence found on Laster's body in 1994.

The warrant also revealed that detectives confirmed Hyde also drove a Chevy Camaro matching the description of a vehicle an eyewitness saw at the crime scene.

Police said Hyde, who was a youth pastor in the 1980's, kept changing his story about the last time he saw Laster and that he had been a suspect in the murder almost since the beginning.

Because Hyde had access to other children through his work with a Jacksonville church, detectives believe there could be more victims out there. The investigation is ongoing.

Shelby Lin Erdman contributed to this report.

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Warren County resident loses $2,000 in fake arrest scam: Sheriff’s office issues warning

Published: Saturday, February 24, 2018 @ 5:31 PM

Nick Graham / Staff
Nick Graham / Staff

The Warren County Sheriff’s Office is warning people of a phone scam that cost one area resident about $2,000.

Sgt. Roy McGill said since Feb. 15, several residents who live inside and outside Warren County have received phone calls from someone identifying himself as a “Sgt. Corey Adams” of the sheriff’s office and telling them he has a warrant for their arrest.

MORE: Man found dead on neighbor’s property in Warren County

The fake deputy then tells the resident to purchase pre-paid debit cards from local retailers and subsequently requests the debit card numbers for payment, over the phone, to keep from being arrested on the warrant. McGill said at least one victim provided payment information and was scammed out of approximately $2,000.

McGill said the Warren County Sheriff’s Office wants citizens to be aware that they do not request payment for warrants over the phone. If anyone receives this type of call, they should hang up and contact their local police agency.

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1 dead in double stabbing at Massachusetts library

Published: Saturday, February 24, 2018 @ 3:46 PM

Jeffrey Yao, 24, is accused of stabbing two people at a library in Massachusetts.
Winchester Police Department
Jeffrey Yao, 24, is accused of stabbing two people at a library in Massachusetts.(Winchester Police Department)

A 22-year-old woman is dead after a double stabbing Saturday at a public library in Massachusetts.

Winchester police tell Boston 25 News they were called to the Winchester Public Library just after 10:30 a.m.

When police arrived, they found a female and an elderly man both suffering from stab wounds, Boston25News reported.

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Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan says the 22-year-old female was in the library sitting at a table when the suspect,  24-year-old Jeffrey Yao, approached her from behind and stabbed her with a 10-inch hunting knife.

She suffered multiple stab wounds to the head and upper torso and was taken to the hospital, where she was pronounced dead.

Several people in the library ran to help the woman, including a 77-year-old man who also sustained stab wounds, Boston25News reported. He was taken to the hospital. 

Yao was arrested in connection with the stabbing. He is being held without bail and is facing murder and assault with intent to murder with a dangerous weapon charges.

Officials did not say if the stabbing was random or if Yao knew the victim. They are still investigating the stabbing - including the motive. 

The victim has not been identified.

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Florida man accused of burglary, sexual battery on sleeping woman, police say

Published: Saturday, February 24, 2018 @ 2:44 PM
Updated: Saturday, February 24, 2018 @ 2:33 PM

Lamarsh Shelly
Palm Beach County Jail
Lamarsh Shelly(Palm Beach County Jail)

Police arrested a Florida man Monday after he allegedly broke into a sleeping woman’s home and committed sexual battery.

Officers responded to an apartment in an undisclosed West Palm Beach neighborhood about 5 a.m.  Feb. 19 when a woman called and said she woke up to a man kneeling at the foot of her bed and touching her genital area, according to the arrest report.

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She told officers that she asked the man — who was later identified as 27-year-old Lamarsh Shelly — what he was doing in her house, and he said “your door was open,” the police report states.

According to the arrest report, Shelly then asked her if she wanted to have sex and asked her for a cigarette. She gave him a cigarette, and she demanded he leave the apartment. She told officers that she knew him from the neighborhood, and he went by the nickname “Honeycomb.”

The woman said Shelly was wearing a black shirt with tan pants, the Palm Beach Post reported. Officers then spoke to another witness who said that she saw Shelly outside of the apartment walking north while smoking a cigarette.

Officers located Shelly at 8th Street and Herietta Avenue, where he told officers, “I don’t burglarize and I don’t want sex,” the report states.

Shelly later admitted to officers that he walked into the apartment, opened the front door and saw the victim sleeping in her bed, the Palm Beach Post reported. He said that he made noises to wake her up to tell her that her front door was open, but did not mention touching her.

Police said children were sleeping in the apartment when the incident occurred.

Officers arrested Shelly on charges of sexual battery and burglary. He remains at the Palm Beach County jail on no bond, according to jail records.

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Police: Teen mother arrested, accused of killing newborn baby

Published: Saturday, February 24, 2018 @ 1:08 PM

tillsonburg/Getty Images
(tillsonburg/Getty Images)

A Texas teenage mother was arrested Friday, accused of killing her newborn child earlier this month, police said.

Erica Gomez, 17, is accused of stabbing her newborn child, wrapping the infant girl in a bathrobe and hiding the body in a storage shed at a home in the El Paso area, police said. The infant's body was found Feb. 9 by authorities, the El Paso Times reported. 

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The infant had a stab wound and cuts to the neck and body, according to a news release from the El Paso County Sheriff's Office.

Gomez was charged with capital murder and is being held on $800,000 bond, according to records from the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office.

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