CCSO announces arrest of murder suspect in Ryan McClellan case

The Citrus County Sheriff’s Officehas announced the arrest of Emery Nicholas Whitt, a suspect in the murder of Ryan Michael McClellan. age 33. who was reported missing on Nov. 16, 2017.

Ryan McClellan

The Citrus County Sheriff’s Office on Friday announced the arrest  on Thursday of Emery Nicholas Whitt, 26, a suspect in the homicide case of Ryan Michael McClellan. age 33. who was reported missing on Nov. 16, 2017.

McClellan’s skeletal remains were discovered in “a large trash can” on Nov. 21, 2017, and dental records verified the remains were that of McClellan.

The trash can, Citrus County Sheriff Mike Prendergast said in 2017, was in a wooded lot off American Avocell Point in Homosassa, about one-half mile from McClellan’s home, and was thought to have been placed there by unknown persons about the time Hurricane Irma rumbled through the county.

McClellan was a native of Michigan, the Sheriff’s Office said, and moved here several years ago. He also has three daughters.

At a 2017 news conference, Prendergast said that McClellan was believed to have suffered upper-body trauma.

Emery Nicholas Whitt

Whitt was already in custody in the Citrus County Detention Facility, records indicate. His residence is listed as 2604 W. Woodland Drive in Lecanto. He has been charged with unpremeditated murder, his arrest report satates.

At Friday’s press conference in Lecanto, Sheriff Prendergast gave the timeline of events surrounding McClellan’s case. He noted that On Sept. 20, 2017, McClellan was reported as a missing person. Detectives from the CCSO Major Crimes Section immediately began a thorough investigation to determine his whereabouts, but were unable to locate him.  He was last seen alive by family members on Sept. 15, 2017.

On Sept. 27, 2017, Ryan McClellan’s Jeep was located abandoned off South Applebud Terrace, Homosassa.  Detectives subsequently uncovered large withdrawals from McClellan’s bank account by suspect Emery Whitt.

On Sept. 29, 2017, Whitt was located, arrested on unrelated charges and interviewed about McClellan’s disappearance.  In addition, McClellan’s personal items, including several firearms, were found in Whitt’s possession.

Then on Nov. 25, 2017, a CCSO deputylocated human remains, inside of a trashcan, on a vacant wooded lot off South American Avocet Point in Lecanto. The body was believed to be that of McClellan’s. After the 5th Fifth District Medical Examiner’s Office conducted an autopsy, it was confirmed that the remains were in fact McClellan’s. Examiners were able to determine that McClellan was the victim of a violent homicide, the CCSO said, in which the perpetrator concealed the body in the trash can and subsequently discarded it in the woods.

Detectives worked tirelessly for more than months, Prendergast said, following leads that took them from Florida to Virginia.

They interviewed numerous family members, witnesses, persons of interest and even the suspect in this case. Detectives also took multiple trips to Virginia between August and December of this year to interview potential witnesses and the suspect. Several key witnesses came forward during this time to assist detectives with this investigation.

After connecting all the leads, gathering forensic evidence, and communicating with the State Attorney’s Office,  Judge Yerman signed a homicide warrant on Dec. 20 for Emery Whitt.  Detectives subsequently arrested Whit at Amelia Courthouse, Va., for the murder of Ryan Michael McClellan.

If anyone has information on this case or can assist in any way please contact Detective Chris Holloway or Detective Jonathan Richey from the Major Crimes Section at 352-726-1121.

If you wish to remain anonymous, please call Crime Stoppers at 1-888-ANYTIPS.

“First and foremost – our hearts go out to the victims’ family,” Prendergast said on Friday.

“Over a year later, and (the McClellan family) still have to deal with the fact that their loved one is gone because of this evil, senseless act committed by Whitt. We are horrified that someone could not only take another person’s life, but just discard them inside of a trashcan like they were a piece of garbage,” said Sheriff Prendergast.

“Rest assured that the Citrus County Sheriff’s Office will always remain vigilant and work tirelessly in seeking justice for the victims in cases such as these.”

 

2 arrested in drug search warrant operation

Two more suspects were arrested on Wednesday in the Sheriff’s Office’s continuing war on heroin in Citrus County.

LEFT: Kenneth Burrosa. RIGHT: Leroy William Kurts.

Two more suspects were arrested on Wednesday in the Sheriff’s Office’s continuing war on heroin in Citrus County.

Kenneth Burrosa, 38, and Leroy Kurts. 56, both of Inverness, were arrested after a drug search warrant turned up drugs and paraphernalia at a home at 2520 Clearwood St. in Inverness.

During the course of the investigation, detectives confirmed that Burrosa allegedly sold heroin on a daily basis. Burrosa is a convicted felon. A search of Burrosa’s room in the home yielded heroin, methamphetamine, cannabis, 54 rounds of ammunition and drug distribution equipment. Detectives seized the drugs and paraphernalia along with the ammunition, since Burrosa is a convicted felon.

Leroy Kurts, age 56, who was also at the residence, was found to be in possession of drug paraphernalia.

The following arrests with charges were made-

* Kenneth Burrosa – (Total bond amount set at $14,000)
Possession of Heroin with Intent to Distribute
Possession of Ammunition by Convicted Felon
Possession of Methamphetamine
Possession of Marijuana under 20
Possession of Paraphernalia

* Leroy Kurts – (Total bond amount set at $1,000)
Possession of Paraphernalia

“Our diligent efforts to make Citrus County the safest community in the state of Florida will continue.  The men and women of the Citrus County Sheriff’s Office work hard every day to deliver excellence in public safety by combating illegal drug sales and activities within our county,” said Sheriff Prendergast.

“Citrus County is where we all live; it’s where our friends and family members live. The men and women who took an oath to protect our residents will do everything possible to stop criminals who think they can infiltrate our community with potentially fatal drugs.

” This drug seizure is just another outstanding effort made by our Tactical Impact Unit.   Our residents can rest assured that this drug house and future drug houses will be decommissioned – that’s my promise as your Sheriff.”

Citrus County Citizens’ Academy Recognizes Fall 2018 Graduates

Citizen Academy Facilitator Doug Wright was joined by fall 2018 Citizen Academy Graduates. FROM LEFT: Bea Wright, Cathy Uranni, Mary Laurence, June Randall, Facilitator, Doug Wright, Candi Arnesen and Cathy Schafer. (PHOTO: Cynthia Oswald, BOCC Public Information Officer)

The 2018 Fall Citizens Academy Graduation Event was held on Dec. 13 at the Citrus FCounty Courthouse in Inverness.

acilitator Doug Wright congratulated the participants. and thanked them for spending time learning more about local government.

Graduates recognized for their participation were Bea Wright, Cathy Uranni, Mary Laurence, June Randall, Candi Arnesen, Cathy Schafer, Anne Amann and Patricia Clayton.

The Citrus County Citizens’ Academy is an interactive program that focuses on educating citizens about the County’s governmental operations. Elected officials, Constitutional Officers, Department Directors and county staff host unique and informative sessions designed to give a hands-on inside look into county government operations.

Participants learn about our local government, the community in which we live, and at the end of the twelve sessions, have made new friends, and most of all gained knowledge to be great ambassadors within our community.

For more information on the Citizens’ Academy program or to register for the spring 2019 session please contact Doug Wright at: douglas.wright@citrusbocc.com.

Sheriff’s Office takes a crack at heroin with Operation H

The Citrus County Sheriff’s Office has just concluded an investigation into illegal heroine dealing in the county.

FROM LEFT: Crystal Pascual, Amanda Ingles, Robert Ingles and Kyle Tannock.

The Citrus County Sheriff’s Office has just concluded an investigation into illegal heroine dealing in the county.

As a result, the Sheriff’s Office said today that five people were arrested during what the CCSO called, “Operation H.”

The five were arrested during the execution of a search warrant on Dec. 12 at 119 South Pleasant Grove Road in Inverness.

The CCSO said it had suspected that Roberto Ingles and Crystal Pascal used this residence for criminal drug activity. The overall investigation resulted in five people being arrested for various charges.

Crystal Pascual was arrested during a traffic stop for trafficking in heroin where she was found to be in possession of over an ounce of the drug.  Also in her possession were three grams of cocaine and a small amount of marijuana.

Roberto Ingles was arrested during the search warrant on Wednesday for trafficking in heroin.  In his room, detectives located 13 grams of heroin, 61 grams of marijuana, a small amount of methamphetamine, 3 alprazolam, 31.5 hydromorphone, and 3 morphine tablets.  The investigation revealed he sold the drugs from the home.  The heroin was field-tested and was found to contain fentanyl.

Amanda Ingles was arrested during the search warrant operation for possession of heroin.  Her boyfriend, Kyle Tannock was also arrested on various drug charges to include renting a structure to distribute drugs.

While conducting surveillance at the Pleasant Grove Road home, detectives observed Marcus Morgan, a Tampa resident, frequenting the home and staying for short periods of time.  Detectives were familiar with Morgan from a prior traffic stop in Homosassa, where Morgan sped away from deputies after observing a K-9 unit arriving on scene. The pursuit was canceled due to safety concerns; however, deputies had already identified the suspect.

On one occasion, Morgan was observed leaving the home and after observing a traffic violation, a traffic stop was conducted. As the detective approached the vehicle on foot, Morgan placed the car in drive and sped away. Again, a short vehicle pursuit ensued and was canceled for the same safety concerns.  Arrest warrants were obtained on Morgan for the two traffic incidents.  Morgan was believed to be the drug supplier.

While still gathering intelligence, Morgan was observed again arriving at the home. Once he left the residence, undercover detectives followed him into Hernando County. Contact was made with the Hernando County Sheriff’s Office, advising them of Morgan’s active warrants and current location. While at a gas station, Morgan was taken into custody. A search of his person and vehicle yielded multiple drugs to include heroin, cocaine, and marijuana.  He was arrested for the local drug charges and was held on his Citrus County Warrants.

Operation H resulted in the following arrests and charges:

Crystal Pascual of Inverness, age 39  – Trafficking in Heroin, Possession with intent to Distribute Cocaine, Possession with intent to Distribute Marijuana, and Possession of Paraphernalia

Robert Ingles of Inverness, age 29 – Trafficking in Heroin, 3 counts Possession of a Controlled Substances (Alprazolam, Hydromorphone, and Morphine), Possession with Intent to Distribute Marijuana within 1000 feet of a Daycare, and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia.

* Kyle Tannock of Inverness, age 30 – Own/Rent/Lease a Structure or Conveyance to Traffic Controlled Substances, Resisting without Violence, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, and Possession of Marijuana under 20 grams.

* Amanda Ingles of Inverness, age 29 – Possession of Heroin and Drug Paraphernalia

* Marcus Morgan of Tampa, age 42 – 2 Counts Felony Fleeing to Elude (Hernando) 2 Counts Possession of a Controlled Substance, Possession of Cocaine, Possession of Marijuana with intent to Sell, Possession of Marijuana, and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia

“Operation H is just one example of the diligent efforts the men and women of the Citrus County Sheriff’s Office make day in and day out to protect and serve the residents of our community.  If these drug dealers think that they can continue to place the residents of Citrus County in jeopardy through their illegal drug sales, they better think again,” said Sheriff Prendergast.

“The Citrus County Sheriff’s Office is committed to ending these types of treacherous operations and activities. We placed five criminals under arrest during Operation H and I can tell you now, we are not stopping here. The residents of our county deserve better, and that’s what they are going to get – a safer community and our dedicated efforts to deliver excellence in public safety.”

Man arrested after bomb scare at tax collector office

Nathaniel Michael Perry of Crystal River

A bomb scare was defused on Monday at the Inverness Tax Collector’s Office with the arrest of a Crystal River man.

According to the Sheriff’s Office, the CCSO dispatch center received a call at about 4:15 p.m. about a bomb threat at the tax office at 210 N Apopka Ave. Deputies who responded began to evacuate the parking lot of the annex.

After CCSO’s Hazardous Devices Team arrived on scene, suspect Nathaniel Michael Perry of Crystal River was detained, and the package in question was examined. The package contained only clothes and miscellaneous items that posed no danger or threat to others.

Perry was subsequently charged with felony unlawful false report of a bomb, dynamite, deadly explosive, weapon of mass destruction, or use of a firearm in violent manner.

CCSO releases name of Good Samaritan in Hernando shooting incident

The Citrus County Sheriff’s Office on Monday released the name of the Good Samaritan who engaged a murder suspect after the murder of a Hernando man on Thursday at the Quality Inn motel in Hernando.

The man who grabbed his own firearm and exchanged gunfire with murder suspect Salvatore Tirone, 70, of Broward County has been identified as Shane Arline, 58, of Inverness.

During the shooting, a bystander attempted to intervene in the incident by making contact with Tirone. After grabbing his own gun, Arline chased after Tirone in an attempt to stop the fleeing murder suspect. Tirone then began running back toward his black Mercedes SUV, parked on East Atlantic Street, which is located just behind the Quality Inn. As Tirone was entering his vehicle to flee, he turned toward Arline with his gun still in his hand.

Arline then shot at Tirone. Tirone exited the vehicle and then returned fire before speeding off. The CCSO was first called to the scene of the shooting at about 9:14 a.m. at the hotel at 350 E. Norvell Bryant Highway, where deputies found a white, older male, Michael Quirello, 64, of Hernando laying on the ground. Quirello was pronounced dead at the scene by deputies. Witnesses at the scene told deputies that the suspect fled from the scene in a black Mercedes Benz SUV, which was subsequently spotted by another CCSO Patrol Unit, the Sheriff’s Office said.

Later, a traffic stop was attempted on Tirone’s vehicle on Hwy 44 as it approached the Sumter County line.

Once in Sumter County, the Sumter County Sheriff’s Office, Florida Highway Patrol and the Citrus County Sheriff’s Office assisted in the pursuit of Tirone’s vehicle. The suspect vehicle evaded the deployment of tire deflation devices at several locations in Sumter County.

The vehicle began to travel south on Interstate 75, where it had eventually lost control and crashed. As law enforcement began to approach the vehicle, the suspect fired on the officers, and law enforcement officers returned fire. Tirone was pronounced deceased at the scene. 

The Sheriff’s Office’s preliminary investigation indicates that the Quality Inn incident was the end result of a jealous ex-husband, Savatore Tirone, who drove to Citrus County, with the intent on killing his ex-wife’s new paramour.

Shooter, victim dead after Hernando motel shooting

The Citrus County Sheriff’s Office on Thursday reported that a shooting suspect and his alleged victim are dead after an incident at the Quality Inn parking lot in Hernando.

The CCSO was first called to the scene of the shooting at about 9:14 a.m. at the hotel at 350 E. Norvell Bryant Highway, where deputies found a white, older male laying on the ground. 

Emergency Medical Services were dispatched; however, deputies pronounced the man dead. 

Witnesses at the scene told deputies that the suspect fled from the scene in a black Mercedes Benz SUV, which was subsequently spotted by another CCSO Patrol Unit, the Sheriff’s Office said.

A traffic stop was attempted on the suspect vehicle on Hwy 44 as it approached the Sumter County line. 

Once in Sumter County, the Sumter County Sheriff’s Office, Florida Highway Patrol and the Citrus County Sheriff’s Office assisted in the pursuit of the suspect vehicle. The suspect vehicle evaded the deployment of tire deflation devices at several locations in Sumter County.

The vehicle began to travel south on Interstate 75, where it had eventually lost control and crashed. As law enforcement began to approach the vehicle, the suspect fired on the officers, and law enforcement officers returned fire. The suspect was pronounced deceased at the scene.

The suspect in this incident has been identified as 70-year-old white male, Salvatore Tirone, out of Broward County.

The Sheriff’s Office’s preliminary investigation indicates that this was a result of a jealous ex-husband, who drove to Citrus County, with the intent on killing his ex-wife’s new paramour.

The victim in this incident has been identified as 64-year-old white male Michael Quirello, out of Hernando in Citrus County.  

During the shooting, a bystander attempted to intervene in this incident by making contact with Tirone. After grabbing his own firearm, the good Samaritan chased after Tirone in an attempt to stop the fleeing murder suspect.

Tirone then began running back toward his black Mercedes SUV, parked on East Atlantic Street, which is located just behind the Quality Inn.  As Tirone was entering his vehicle to flee, he turned toward the good Samaritan with his gun still in his hand. The good Samaritan shot at Tirone. Tirone exited the vehicle and then shot at the good Samaritan before speeding off. 

Another witness provided a detailed description of the suspect vehicle, which allowed a CCSO deputy to easily identify the vehicle when he observed it traveling east on Hwy 44. 

“We are working diligently to investigate this unfortunate incident. Thankfully, it is an isolated incident and all parties have been identified. There is no further threat to the residents of our community and none of our deputies or innocent bystanders were injured,” said Sheriff Prendergast.

“We greatly appreciate all the assistance provided to us by both the Sumter County Sheriff’s Office and the Florida Highway Patrol, in stopping this armed, dangerous murder suspect. The courage of the good Samaritan likely saved lives today.”

 

Investigation continues into death of Homosassa woman

The Citrus County Sheriff’s Office is continuing to investigate the Nov. 21 shooting death of a Homosassa woman, possibly by an apparently errant bullet

The Citrus County Sheriff’s Office is continuing to investigate the Nov. 21 shooting death of a Homosassa woman, possibly by an apparently errant bullet from an unknown shooter near her home.

Deputies were called to her home on Nov. 21 at 6143 W Wayward Wind Loop after the shooting, the Sheriff’s Office said on Friday.

Upon arrival, deputies noticed 58-year-old Sandra Ryder laying on the ground with an apparent head injury. Deputies quickly started cardiopulmonary resuscitation until emergency medical services arrived. Upon their arrival, Mrs. Ryder was pronounced deceased at 12:55 p.m. The Sheriff’s Office’s Major Crimes detectives and victims’ advocates were then called to the scene.

In the time that followed, the CCSO said, deputies spoke with Mrs. Ryder’s husband who told him he and his wife had gone out to the front of their shed to put a tarp on a generator. He that as they finished putting the tarp on, they began to hear gunshots in the distance. Mr. Ryder told deputies that he then heard another gunshot, and saw his wife fall to the ground.

After securing the immediate area, Major Crimes detectives set up a search perimeter.  The Citrus County Sheriff’s Office K9 Unit, Aviation Unit and other sworn members were deployed to the scene to search for possible suspects and further evidence. During the investigation, it was discovered that several residents in the area had also heard what they believed to be gunfire, and pointed out a possible residence in proximity of this incident where they believe the gunfire originated.

Detectives made contact with a group of juveniles at this residence, who were then questioned. It was later determined that five juveniles were shooting in the wooded area behind the Ryder’s residence. Firearmsm as well as several spent ammunition cartridges were collected for evidentiary processing.

The Citrus County Sheriff’s Office is still investigating this incident and processing evidence for forensic testing. No arrests have been made. and no charges have been filed at this time.

“The circumstances surrounding this case are inconceivable,” Sheriff Mike Prendergast said. “Just the day before Thanksgiving, a woman, a mother and a loving wife lost her life due to the negligence of others. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Ryder family as we continue this investigation.”