Brooksville woman’s body found floating in local waters

A Brooksville woman was found Sunday morning lying face down in water in an area of Chazzahowitzka known as Drum Key.

A Brooksville woman was found Sunday morning lying face down in water in an area of Chazzahowitzka known as Drum Key.

She has been identified as Ronda Mullin, 66.

The Citrus County Sheriff’s Office responded just before 11 a.m. to the initial report of an unconscious person floating in the water.

A family from the Tampa Bay area left Bay Port in Hernando to go scalloping, the CCSO said. After approximately 30 minutes in the water, the family found Mullinface down in the water unresponsive.

The CCSO said that her adult son, Adam Mullin, administered CPR. Both the FWC and U.S. Coast Guard responded to the scene, and Ronda was later declared dead. The Sheriff’s Office said that Ronda hid health issues.

There were no visible signs of trauma, the CCSO said, and nothing appears suspicious at this time. The official cause of death is pending, and will be determined by the medical examiner’s office.


Former CCSO employee faces confidentiality violations

A former CCSO crime scene specialist has been arrested for allegedly violating the agency’s rules on confidential information.

Just before 6 p.m. on Friday, Citrus County Sheriff’s Office detectives arrested a former CCSO crime scene specialist on a warrant for disclosure of confidential information.

Ashley Pate, who has been with CCSO since December of 2007, was terminated from the agency on July 13 after an investigation revealed she had violated five agency policies, the Sheriff’s Office said in a statement it released on Friday.

Those policies include:

  • 108.00 (VI) (A) 27 – Code of Conduct; Negligence – Endangering Others
  • 108.00 (VI) (B) 5 –   Code of Conduct; Association with Criminals
  • 108.00 (VI) (B) 22 – Code of Conduct; Interference with Official Investigations
  • 108.00 (VI) (B) 26 – Code of Conduct; Communicating Confidential Law Enforcement Information
  • 108.00 (VI) (B) 54 – Code of Conduct; Untruthfulness in an Official Inquiry

“We will not tolerate any type of criminal activity by our employees – especially anything that jeopardizes the safety of our law enforcement officers or the integrity of what this agency has stood for over the past 131 years,” says Sheriff Mike Prendergast.

“Our deputies risk their lives every day to protect the citizens of Citrus County and this former employee’s actions compromised sensitive investigations.  Most importantly, her crimes could have led to serious injuries or death for members of the CCSO family.”

Pate, 34, of Inverness, is charged with one count of disclosure or use of confidential criminal justice information.

A Sheriff’s Office spokesperson said that this is an open and active investigation.


Pilot unharmed after emergency landing in Lecanto field

Beechcraft pilot Chris Wood on Thursday was unharmed after an emergency landing in the Lecanto area following engine trouble with the aircraft. The FAA is investigating the cause of the accident. (July 26, 2018)

By Cynthia Oswald,
BOCC Public Information Officer

Beechcraft pilot Chris Wood on Thursday was unharmed after an emergency landing in the Lecanto area following engine trouble with the aircraft. The FAA is investigating the cause of the accident. (July 26, 2018)

Citrus County Fire Rescue was dispatched on Thursday evening to the scene of a plane crash in a field near the corner of North Maylen Avenue and West Sanction Road in Lecanto.

The plane, a twin-engine Beechcraft valued at $450,000, was landed successfully, with only damage to the right wing and fuel cell, about one-half a mile from the nearest roadway after the two engines failed.

The only occupant was the pilot, Chris Woods, who was unharmed. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) was notified and began investigation Friday morning, July 27. (July 26, 2018)

Double search warrants in Beverly Hills leads to four arrests

Four people were arrested during a drug raid in Beverly Hills. They include Kristy Richard, Kevin Allen and Christopher Foster (July 26, 2018)

Early Thursday morning (July 26, 2018), the Citrus County Sheriff’s Office served two search warrants at homes in Beverly Hills.

The search warrants were served simultaneously utilizing the assistance of the Sheriff’s SWAT teams from both Citrus and Hernando counties.

Detectives with the Citrus County Sheriff’s Office Tactical Impact Unit learned the residences located at 19 South Washington Street and 31 North Jefferson Street were associated and being used to sell a multitude of drugs in our community.

The homeowner and current resident of 31 North Jefferson, 38-year-old Kristy Richard from Beverly Hills, was the target of a previous drug search warrant in January of last year.  During the previous operation, she was arrested for possession of Cocaine with Intent to Sell at the same home.  Apparently, she has stepped up her drug game to now include methamphetamine.  During the search of her home today, detectives located 36 grams of methamphetamine.

This constitutes trafficking and if convicted, Richards faces a minimum mandatory sentence of at least three years in prison.  Detectives also located 1 gram of heroin and multiple prescription medications.  Richards was charges with various drug charges listed below.  Also in the home was 51-year-old Kevin Allen from Hernando, who was arrested on an active parole violation warrant for a meth-related charge.

Detectives were simultaneously at a home located at 19 South Washington Street.  The search resulted in the arrest of 31-year-old Christopher Foster from Beverly Hills, for Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon.  A misdemeanor citation was issued to 36-year-old Nicole Moodie of Beverly Hills, for Possession of Drug Paraphernalia.  In February of last year, TIU detectives served a search warrant at this same residence.

Although the previously arrested residents have moved out, the home continues to be a hub of illegal activity.  This led detectives to secure another search warrant for the home.

“You have three options,” says Sheriff Mike Prendergast. “You can stop what you’re doing, leave Citrus County, or we’re coming to get you.  My detectives know my directive, which is to clean up our streets of drugs.  One by one – they will find you and you’ll have a new home which is a jail cell.”

The following charges were a result of this operation:
31 North Jefferson Street
• Kristy Richard, 38, Beverly Hills – Trafficking in Methamphetamine, Possession of Heroin, two counts of Possession of a Prescription Medication without a Prescription, Possession of Paraphernalia
• Kevin Allen, 51, Hernando – Active Parole Violation Warrant, original charge of Meth Sales

19 South Washington Street
• Christopher Foster, 31, Beverly Hills – Possession of Firearm by a Convicted Felon, Possession of Marijuana under 20 Grams, and Possession of Paraphernalia
• Nicole Moodie, 36, Beverly Hills – Possession of Paraphernalia (Citation issued)


County names new engineering division director

Laura Borgesi, Citrus County Engineering Division Director

Citrus County Department of Public Works has named Laura Borgesi, PE, PSM, MPA as the new Engineering Division Director.

Borgesi began her new position on July 2.

Borgesi is a licensed professional Engineer, Surveyor and Mapper with more than 25 years experience in land planning and development and 10 years in municipal engineering.

She brings extensive experience in traffic engineering and roadway operations, and is proficient at working with multi-jurisdictional agencies and local entities to provide the best level of service and project management with a focus on customer satisfaction and problem resolution.

Her education includes; a Master of Public Administration, Florida International University, a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering, Florida State University, a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Engineering, a Florida State University, and a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, University of Massachusetts at Lowell. Previous experience includes; Town Engineer at the Town of Davie, Engineering Support Services Manager for the City of Hollywood, Florida, Traffic Engineer for the City of Hollywood, Florida, and Highway Engineer for the Seminole Tribe of Florida.

Borgesi is filling a position that has been vacant since Randall Olney was promoted to Public Works Director in February of this year.

Borgesi can be reached at Citrus County Engineering Division at 352-527-5446.


Former church leader takes plea deal in criminal sex case

Chad Robison

Exactly one year ago today, CCSO detectives arrested 36-year-old Chad Robison for several criminal sex crimes.

Today, they watched in court, as he pled no contest to all 48 counts in his criminal sex case. Robison, the former worship director at Seven Rivers Presbyterian Church in Lecanto from 2011 – 2017, stood with his legal team and decided to plea instead of going through with a full trial.

Charges against Robison include lewd and lascivious exhibition, video voyeurism, possession of child pornography and online solicitation of minors for sexual activity. He faces up to 25 years in prison.
“After months of meticulous hard work by members of our team, we were able to make an arrest of Mr. Robison and present irrefutable evidence to the State Attorney’s Office to secure this important outcome,” says Sheriff Mike Prendergast. “Our community is safer because the detectives in our Criminal Investigations Division worked tirelessly on this case. To know that someone as evil as this man will now be behind bars and is no longer a threat to the children of our community is a testament to the professionalism of our agency.” Robison will now go before Judge Howard for sentencing on Aug. 20.

UPDATE: Robison on Aug 20, 2018 was sentenced to 11 years for possessing illicit pornography. Assistant State Attorney Blake Shore and Citrus County Sheriff Mike Prendergast had recommended the maximum 25 years.