3 juveniles arrested in Ryder shooting case

Three youths have been charged in connection with a November 2018 case in which a woman, Sandra Ryder, 53, of Homosassa was found shot

Three youths have been charged in connection with a November 2018 case in which a woman, Sandra Ryder, 53, of Homosassa was found shot in the head at her home near Grover Cleveland Boulevard..

The Sheriff’s Office said that they were called to the woman’s home at 6143 W. Wayward Loop on Nov. 21, 2018 at about 12:43 pm.

Upon arrival, found Ryder laying on the ground with an apparent head injury. Deputies quickly started cardiopulmonary resuscitation until emergency medical services (EMS) arrived. Upon arrival of EMS, Mrs. Ryder was pronounced deceased at 12:55 pm.

During the search for possible suspects and evidence, detectives discovered that several residents in the area said they had heard what they believed to be gunfire, and pointed out a possible residence in the proximity of this incident where they believed the gunfire originated.

At that time, detectives made contact with a group of juveniles at the residence, who were then questioned. It was later determined that the juveniles had been shooting in the wooded area behind the Ryder’s residence. Firearms, as well as several spent ammunition cartridges, were collected for evidentiary processing.

After gathering and analyzing the forensic evidence for this case and communicating with the State Attorney’s Office, on April 2, 2019, the Citrus County Sheriff’s Office arrested three juveniles for the manslaughter of Sandra Ryder and for possession of a firearm by a minor.

Arrested were:

  • Zoey Ellan Andersen, age 13 (DOB 05/31/2005)
  • Joseph Shane Finn, age 14 (DOB 08/18/2004)
  • Jason Byron Simms, age 14 (DOB 07/22/2004)

“The loss of Sandra Ryder the day before Thanksgiving was devastating. Now, the futures of the three juveniles responsible for her death hang in the balance as prosecutors prepare to bring the case to court,” said Citrus County Sheriff Mike Prendergast. “Teenagers can be impulsive and reckless. Unfortunately, for these three, their careless actions took another person’s life and will carry harsher consequences

“Our thoughts and prayers remain with the family of Mrs. Ryder,” Sheriff Prendergast said.

SO YOU KNOW:

Deputies find meth during warrant process

The Citrus County Sheriff’s Office on Wednesday found methamphetamine scattered throughout a home at 10700 W Woodland Place in Homosassa.

Crystal Ann Huggins

The Citrus County Sheriff’s Office on Wednesday found methamphetamine scattered throughout a home at 10700 W Woodland Place in Homosassa.

Detectives with the Tactical Impact Unit (TIU) obtained the search warrant after learning that the home was used to sell significant amounts of methamphetamine, the Sheriff’s Office said.

One of the home’s occupants, 47-year-old Crystal Huggins, was subsequently arrested as a result of the investigation.

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Derelict vessel removed from Homosassa River

Removal of derelict vessel from the Shivers Bay, Homosassa River on Feb. 14, 2019)

Thanks to the efforts of Citrus County Aquatics Director Mark Edwards, and staff, an identified derelict vessel was removed on Feb. 14 from the Homosassa River.

In December 2018, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) notified Citrus County of the potential derelict vessel and later the same month, the Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) approved staff to apply for grant funding from the FWC to remove the derelict vessel.

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CCSO shutters 2 gambling dens

Citrus County deputies on Thursday shut down two gambling storefronts, one in Inverness and one in Homosassa.

Gambling equipment seized during a search warrant at businesses in Homosassa and Inverness

Citrus County deputies on Thursday shut down two gambling storefronts, one in Inverness and one in Homosassa.

The Citrus County Sheriff’s Office’s Tactical Impact Unit (TIU) and detectives took down The Time Square Internet Sweepstakes Cafe at 3814 East Gulf to Lake Highway in Inverness and at Lucky U 777 at 3538 S Suncoast Blvd. in Homosassa. The search warrant executions are the result of a several week’s investigation into illegal gambling establishments in the community.

The search warrant executions are the result of a several weeks’ investigation into illegal gambling establishments in the community, The Sheriff’s Office said.

Detectives conducted undercover operations to gather information on the illegal operations of these so-called “games of skill,” which would pay out money to winning players which, the CCSO said. constituted the game as a gamble, which is against the law. Investigations such as this take time, since it is imperative to make strong criminal cases against these establishments and gather intelligence that will lead to the actual owners. Each of these cases will be reviewed by the State Attorney’s Office before any charges or warrants are issued. 

Some of the loot taken in the search warrant executed in Homosassa and Inverness businesses

“Some of these establishments are run like a sophisticated criminal enterprise, instituting many levels of protection between the facility and the actual owner,” said CCSO Sergeant Blair. “There are the actual owners, money runners, shell corporations, managers, and gaming facility staff. The staff in most of these cases do not know who actually owns the illicit gaming facility. Once our investigation into these facilities was complete, detectives constructed a plan to shut down their operations.” 

While executing the search warrants at both businesses, detectives, deputies and forensics personnel confiscated a total of six machines, together with various hard drives, numerous documents and $32,592 in cash. Two individuals on scene were arrested for outstanding warrants not related to this investigation. 

Additional arrests were not made during this initial phase of the operation. Once all available intelligence is gathered, warrants will be issued for those responsible for these illegal gambling storefronts. Surrounding businesses were thankful for the bust, the CCSO said, and noted it would curb the drug and criminal activity that they witnessed out in the parking lot of the establishment.

“There are several of these illegal operations in our community, and we plan to eradicate each one. If you are an owner, operator, employee or even landlord of an illicit gambling operation, this is your notice – close down or be shut down,” said Sheriff Prendergast. 

“The gaming laws pertaining to legal gambling are specific, and those who rent to these illegal establishments can be arrested. Take action now before it’s too late. If you’re fishing,’ you better hope to be on a boat with a pole when we show up. If not, you may be a fish out of water in our Lecanto jail.”

“Some of these establishments are run like a sophisticated criminal enterprise, instituting many levels of protection between the facility and the actual owner,” said CCSO Sergeant Blair. “There are the actual owners, money runners, shell corporations, managers, and gaming facility staff. The staff in most of these cases do not know who actually owns the illicit gaming facility. Once our investigation into these facilities was complete, detectives constructed a plan to shut down their operations.”

While executing the search warrants at both businesses, detectives, deputies and forensics personnel confiscated a total of six machines, together with various hard drives, numerous documents and $32,592 in cash. Two individuals on scene were arrested for outstanding warrants not related to this investigation.

Additional arrests were not made during this initial phase of the operation. Once all available intelligence is gathered, warrants will be issued for those responsible for these illegal gambling storefronts. Surrounding businesses were thankful for the bust, the CCSO said, and noted it would curb the drug and criminal activity that they witnessed out in the parking lot of the establishment.

“There are several of these illegal operations in our community, and we plan to eradicate each one. If you are an owner, operator, employee or even landlord of an illicit gambling operation, this is your notice – close down or be shut down,” said Sheriff Prendergast.

“The gaming laws pertaining to legal gambling are specific, and those who rent to these illegal establishments can be arrested. Take action now before it’s too late. If you’re fishing,’ you better hope to be on a boat with a pole when we show up. If not, you may be a fish out of water in our Lecanto jail.”