Tests Confirm Significant Amount Of Blood, Which Suspects Allegedly Tried To Conceal Was Ethan Fussell’s


Sheriff Judd briefed the media this afternoon with an update on the Ethan Fussell missing persons case, which is now considered a homicide.

The following suspects have been arrested so far:

Talon Page, DOB 1/18/1999, of 1116 Driggers Road in Lakeland; charged with one count accessory after the fact of a capital felony (F1), and one count destroying/tampering with evidence (F3). His criminal history includes 11 previous felonies and 16 previous misdemeanors.

Adonai Moran-Rivera, DOB 10/5/2002, who also lives at the Driggers Road address; charged with one count accessory after the fact of a capital felony (F1), and one count destroying/tampering with evidence (F3). His criminal history includes 41 previous felonies, 16 previous misdemeanors, and a trip to state prison from which he was released in May 2023.

They were both arrested on Sunday, June 2, 2024, in Mulberry after PCSO received a tip that they were seen at a house there. Deputies arrived and arrested them for their active warrants. They refused to cooperate with this investigation.

Sheriff Grady Judd revealed to the media that a significant amount of blood found at the house on Driggers Rd. tested positive to Ethan Fussell. The suspects tried to tamper with the evidence, by allegedly cleaning up the crime scene.

Heartland Crime Stoppers is offering a $5,000 reward for information on the whereabouts of Ethan Fussell’s body and any other arrests related to his murder.

Full Press Conference Here:

J.C. Reviews: The Garfield Movie is a Big Fat Nothing Burger


by James Coulter

If you don’t know who Garfield is…you know who Garfield is! For more than 40 years, Garfield has remained the most famous orange cat in comics. In fact, the only other orange comic strip cat, Heathcliff, is most infamous for being mistaken for him—even though Heathcliff’s comic strip premiered five years before Garfield’s!

Garfield has appeared in comic strips, Saturday morning cartoons, animated television specials, live-action movies, video games, theme parks, and especially on car windshields. Now, 18 years after his last theatrical film, A Tale of Two Kitties, this big cat is making his big return to the big screen. But will the big screen be able to handle this big cat in his next big adventure? Or will audiences end up liking this move as much as Garfield loves Mondays?

The Garfield Movie starts with the titular cat as a scrawny little kitty. After being abandoned by his father, Garfield is adopted by Jon and eventually grows up into the lazy lasagna-eating fat cat. One night, he and his dog companion Odie become unintentionally reunited with his father when his father’s former partner-in-crime ropes them all in on a criminal raid. Now Garfield needs to work together with his estranged father to pull off the biggest milk heist of the century. Will the two rekindle their relationship and succeed in their mission? Or will this milk robbery go sour?

I’ve been a big fan of Garfield ever since I was young. I loved watching Garfield and Friends every Saturday, reading the comic strips on Sunday. I played a Garfield video game on the Sega Game Gear. I even somewhat enjoyed watching the 2004 live-action movie starring Bill Murray—even if he did consider it his worst acting role, and all because he assumed the film was being directed by the Cohen Brothers and not Joel Cohen! (The 2006 sequel, on the other hand, belongs in the litter box.) So, being a lifelong Garfield fan, you’d think I’d enjoy this movie, right?

Well, I loved this movie as much as Garfield loves Mondays. And spiders. And Binky the Clown. Which is to say I didn’t like it at all.

Credit where it’s due, the animation looked decent. The art style certainly captures the cartoony aspect of the Garfield comics, but not so much that it looks like a comic strip come to life. If you’re expecting an innovative art style along the lines of Spider-Verse or The Peanuts Movie—well, this film ain’t it!

Chris Pratt as Garfield is—fine! He’s just fine. I love Chris Pratt. He’s my favorite actor of all time. I loved him as Star Lord in the Guardians of the Galaxy. And I enjoyed him as Mario in the Super Mario Bros. Movie. And to his credit, he does manage to capture the snarky personality of the fat comic-strip feline. I don’t know. He certainly does a better job than Bill Murray, but, in the end, the late Lorenzo Music will always remain the definitive voice for Garfield, to the point where there can never be a proper replacement.

As for the story itself? Well, stop me if you’ve heard this before: a character is separated and later reunited with their long-lost father…yes, we’ve heard this all before! They don’t get along at first. Then they do. But then there’s a big misunderstanding and the two of them fall apart again. Then the main character figures out that the obvious misunderstanding was an obvious misunderstanding. And the father and son become reunited once again and live happily ever after. Roll credits. (If you consider this a “spoiler”—I’m sorry, you haven’t watched that many movies!)

Honestly, this trite plot wouldn’t be so bad if the comedy was actually good. It isn’t. If you’re expecting humor similar to the Garfield comics or cartoons, you might want to look somewhere else. The “funniest” joke from the film takes place inside a train boxcar, with Odie working in the background while Garfield and his father are arguing with each other. Otherwise, this movie is filled with jokes that are either not funny or not jokes. One excruciatingly-long sequence has Garfield’s father planning out their heist in the forest and Garfield arguing over who gets represented by what random forest item.

Overall, while this movie isn’t “bad”, it’s simply not good either. It’s a mediocre film equivalent to dietary fiber: it passes through you easily with no real lasting impact on your system. This is the type of movie you put on for your children to keep them pre-occupied for an hour or two while you work on something else. In other words, don’t bother watching this film in theaters. And if your kids really want to watch it, wait until it comes out on streaming or rental.

If you really want to watch good Garfield content, I highly recommend the old Garfield and Friends animated series. It’s even available to stream for free on Tubi, Pluto TV, and The Roku Channel. You won’t believe how well this show holds up even 30 years later. It truly was a series ahead of its time, and it’s a much better watch than this movie.


Sheriff Grady Judd To Brief Media On The Investigation Into The Disappearance Of Young Lakeland Man Ethan Fussell


Sheriff Grady Judd will brief the media at 1:30 p.m. this afternoon, Monday, June 3, 2024, with an update on the Ethan Fussell missing persons investigation.

The 21-year-old was last seen on May 7 on Driggers Road in Lakeland, according to the Polk County Sheriff’s Office. Last week deputies were searching for Talon Page, 25, and Adonai Moran Rivera, 21, the last two people seen with him, according to the PCSO.

Fussell is 5 feet 7 inches tall with brown hair and brown eyes, and weighs about 150 pounds. 

Anyone with information about his disappearance is asked to contact PCSO at 8630-298-6200 or Crime Stoppers at 1-888-400-TIPS.

Two People Killed When Alleged “JoyRide” Goes Wrong On Hwy 98

Around 11:35 p.m. on Saturday, June 1, 2024, the PCSO ECC received a 911 call regarding a single vehicle – 2018 black Porsche 911 – that had been traveling north on US Hwy 98 after leaving the “Wine Bar” lounge in Bartow when it left the roadway and crashed, ejecting both the driver and passenger. Both occupants were found deceased upon first responders’ arrival. The crash occurred just south of the intersection with Smith Lane.


According to the investigation thus far, the driver, 66-year-old Michael Price of Miami, was at the bar with a 54-year-old female, Johnnie Levin of Bartow, when they decided to leave and take a “joy ride” in the Porsche. A witness to the crash who was driving north on 98 at the time saw the Porsche approach from behind without headlights, and then suddenly exit and roll multiple times along the east shoulder of the road. The witness turned around and found the wreckage, then called 911. The Porsche was broken into several pieces. Excessive speed appears to be a factor. The investigation is ongoing.

Alleged Grand Theft Auto & DUI Suspect Threatens To Kill Deputy Sheriff & Allegedly Assaulted Polk Fire Rescue Paramedic


The Polk County Sheriff’s Office on May 24 arrested 20 yr old Milo Pemberton. He was involved in a vehicle crash and while being treated he became combative. During the course of the investigation it was alleged that Pemberton assault both law enforcement and emergency response personnel

The following is a long exerpt from the Polk County Sheriff’s Office affidavit and (It should be noted that this is an unedited, but redacted, report of facts, by the PCSO. These facts are up for question and everyone is entitled to question the validity of facts by law enforcement in a court of law. The Daily Ridge does not rewrite these facts as some meanings or interpretations could be in error and change context. We hope readers appreciate being able to read the information and come to their own understanding and conclusions) :

“On 05/24/24 at approximately 0638 hours, I responded to the area of Florida Ave S and Shepherd Rd, Lakeland in reference to a vehicle crash with unknown injuries that was being received by Live911.

Prior to my arrival, D/S Billek #9491 arrived on scene and took primary on the traffic crash investigation.

Upon arrival, I made contact with D/S Billek and assisted him in the traffic crash investigation. While on scene, I observed Polk County Fire/EMS rendering aid to one of the drivers (later identified as Milo Pemberton). I was requested to stand by with Polk County Fire/EMS due to Pemberton being irate and verbally combative. Pemberton began to calm down and was escorted to the rear of Polk County Fire Rescue Ambulance #2 by Polk County EMS/Fire personnel.

Milo Pemberton

A short time later, I was requested by Medic #1 to assist with Pemberton due to his behavior in the rear of the ambulance. D/S Billek and I responded to the rear of ambulance #2. Upon entering, I observed Firefighter/Paramedic (Medic) #2 attempting to restrain Pemberton who had removed the gurney restraints. Medic #2 advised Pemberton stated “You don’t know if I have a gun” and “I have a gun.” Medic #2 advised Pemberton began to reach into his pants. Medic #2 advised he was placed in fear of imminent danger due to Pemberton’s statements. Medic #2 believed Pemberton had a firearm as Pemberton appeared to be reaching for one. Medic #2 advised to he attempted to restrain the subject until law enforcement could assist further.

Due to Pemberton’s threats of a firearm, D/S Billek conducted a search of his person. During this search, an unopened “BuzzBallz Chiller” was located in Pemberton’s pocket. BuzzBallz Chillers are alcoholic beverages that have a 15% alcohol content by volume. At the time of this incident, Pemberton was 20 years old.

Due to Pemberton’s actions, Medic #2 began to apply soft restraints to Pemberton’s wrists. D/S Billek and I assisted by keeping the subject on the gurney as he continued to move around and attempt to get off the gurney. During this time, D/S Billek and I gave multiple verbal commands for Pemberton to stop moving around and to lay still on the gurney. I maintained control of Pemberton’s upper body and left arm. As Medic #2 began to apply a soft restraint to Pemberton’s left arm, Pemberton grabbed my right wrist with his right hand and attempted to remove it from his person. I immediately ordered Pemberton to let me go as he continued to push my arm away. I was able to remove my wrist from Pemberton’s grasp and handcuffs were applied in lieu of the soft restraints.

I exited the ambulance and entered my agency issued marked patrol vehicle to follow Ambulance #2 to the hospital. Prior to leaving the scene, Medic #1 exited the ambulance again and advised Pemberton was able to remove his right wrist from the handcuff. I re-entered the ambulance to reapply the handcuff. While reapplying the handcuff, Pemberton moved his head towards me rapidly while yelling. Due to his actions, I believed Pemberton was attempting to head-butt me and I had to move to prevent this from occurring. After applying the handcuff, Pemberton continued to try and head-butt me while saying “When I get out of jail, I will kill you.” I placed my left hand on Pemberton’s chest and pushed him away from me and told him to stop. Pemberton continued to threaten to kill me after leaving jail but no longer attempted to head-butt me.

Ambulance #2 began to transport Pemberton to the hospital due to injuries from the crash and medical clearance for the jail.

In the area of Old Hwy 37 and Oak Ln, Lakeland, ambulance #2 activated their emergency lights and pulled over to the side of Old Hwy 37. Medic #1 exited the driver seat and advised Pemberton was actively fighting in the rear of the ambulance. As Medic #1 opened the rear door, I observed Pemberton kick Medic #2 multiple times. I entered the ambulance and assisted with restraining Pemberton while Medic #2 began to obtain items for chemical sedation.

I observed Medic #2 deploy one medication into the left buttocks of Pemberton. As Medic #2 was about to deploy the second medication, I observed Medic #2 remove the needle cap and move towards Pemberton. When Medic #2 got near Pemberton, I observed Pemberton grab Medic #2 left wrist (which held the uncapped needle) and begin to pull on it. Due to the uncapped needle and the struggle between Medic #2 and Pemberton, I immediately deployed my agency issued Taser (S/N: X1200EW5X) via a drive stun technique for a full five second cycle into the abdomen of Pemberton while giving him commands to release Medic #2’s wrist. While the cycle was being applied, Pemberton grabbed my right hand and the Taser with his right hand. Pemberton began pulling on both in an attempt to remove the Taser from his abdomen. I gave Pemberton multiple verbal commands to let go of my hand and Taser. During the five second cycle, Pemberton released his grasp on Medic #2. After the five second cycle, Pemberton let go of my hand and no longer attempted to resist.

Ambulance #2 transported Pemberton to Bartow Regional Medical Center for medical clearance.

During the course of this investigation, D/S Billek learned the vehicle (black 2021 Jeep Compass bearing FL Tag #DAGC62) being operated by Pemberton prior to the crash was owned by REDACTED (friend of Pemberton). REDACTED advised D/S Billek she did not give Pemberton permission to take or drive the vehicle and wanted to press charges. The vehicle was valued at $10,000.

During the course of this investigation, D/S Billek and I were wearing our agency issued Class B uniforms with silver “Deputy Sheriff” badges affixed to the front, insignia patches on both arms, and agency issued duty belts clearly identifying us as law enforcement officers. Medic #2 was wearing his agency issued uniform which consisted of a Polk County Fire/EMS shirt with “Firefighter” on the front and BDU style pants, which clearly identified him as a firefighter.

Pemberton was arrested and charged with Battery on Law Enforcement Officer (two counts), Battery on a Paramedic/Firefighter, Aggravated Assault on a Paramedic/Firefighter, Assault on Law Enforcement Officer, Resisting an Officer with Violence, Resisting an Officer without Violence (two counts), Corruption by Threat, Grand Theft – Motor Vehicle, and Possession of Alcohol by Person under 21. Pemberton was medically cleared by Bartow Medical Center and transported to Polk County Sheriff’s Office – Sheriff’s Processing Center without further incident.

Lakeland Nurse Charged With Fraud After Allegedly Stealing Patient’s Wallet


The Lakeland Police Department has arrested a registered nurse charging her with multiple charges including fraud. The nurse, Jessica Cuthbertson, allegedly stole a patient’s wallet. She is also accused of trying to buy gas, alcohol and cigarettes with stolen cards from the wallet.

The following is a long exerpt from the Lakeland Police affidavit and specifically (It should be noted that this is an unedited, but redacted, report of facts, by the Lakeland Police Department. These facts are up for question and everyone is entitled to question the validity of facts by law enforcement in a court of law. The Daily Ridge does not rewrite these facts as some meanings or interpretations could be in error and change context. We hope readers appreciate being able to read the information and come to their own understanding and conclusions) :

“On 04/04/24, the defendant was operating as a Registered Nurse (RN) at Lakeland Regional Health. During her workday, the defendant was assigned to care for an individual in the same room as the victim (split room). During her shift on 04/04/24, the victim was temporarily transported to another room, to undergo procedures. However, prior to leaving REDACTED’s room, the victim left REDACTED wallet and other belongings behind. When the victim returned to REDACTED room, later that evening, REDACTED checked pants pocket for REDACTED wallet, and learned that it was no longer there. The victim checked REDACTED bank account and learned of a fraudulent charge, from a RaceTrac gas station, which occurred at 1800 hours. It was later learned that the fraudulent transaction occurred with REDACTED’s Trust bank card, which was stolen from wallet.

Security cameras and sales records from RaceTrac revealed that the defendant approach a fuel pump in a white Dodge Ram pickup truck, exit the vehicle, and enter the stolen credit card at a gas pump and paid for $74.63. The defendant then entered the store and attempted to purchase alcohol and cigarettes for $67.58, but the card declined. The defendant fraudulently used the victim’s bank card during two (2) different transactions and endeavored to deprive the victim of an aggregated amount of $142.21.

Note: A DAVID inquiry revealed that the defendant had a white Dodge Ram pickup truck registered to her.

A co-worker of the defendant was shown still images from the RaceTrac security footage, who positively identified the defendant. Risk Management of Lakeland Regional Health confirmed that the defendant was employed and caring for a patient in the same room as the victim.”

One Lakeland Woman Killed & One Plant City Man Arrested In Fatal 8 Vehicle Crash


LAKELAND, FL (May 31, 2024) – On Thursday, May 30, 2024, at approximately 10:04 a.m., officers responded to assist the Plant City Police Department after a traffic crash occurred at the intersection of Harden Boulevard and South Frontage Road. In total the crash scene involved eight vehicles and eleven persons.

Evidence and witness statements indicated the Mercedes (Vehicle 1) entered the intersection on a solid red light and impacted the front of a black Ford SUV (Vehicle 2) which was traveling eastbound on South Frontage Road and attempting to turn left (north). A grey Subaru (Vehicle 8) was turning left in the adjacent lane to Vehicle 2 and was damaged by debris of the collision.

Post impact with Vehicle 2, Vehicle 1 continued and struck a raised concrete median then impacted the driver’s side of a dark colored Ford SUV (Vehicle 3). Vehicle 3 was pushed in an eastbound direction and impacted a grey Volkswagen (Vehicle 4) and a grey Honda (Vehicle 5). Post impact, Vehicle 5 impacted a black Chrysler (Vehicle 6) and a blue Chevrolet (Vehicle 7).

The driver of Vehicle 1 attempted to flee on foot and was taken into custody by Plant City and Lakeland Police officers.

Numerous other Lakeland Police Department Patrol Units responded, along with Polk County Fire Rescue, and the Lakeland Fire Department who all began life-saving measures. The driver of Vehicle 1, and the driver and passenger of Vehicle 2 were transported to transported to Lakeland Regional Health (LRH) for minor injuries. The driver of Vehicle 5 responded of his own accord to LRH for treatment of minor injuries. The driver of Vehicle 3 was transported to LRH where, despite the best efforts of medical professionals, she succumbed to her injuries and was pronounced deceased.

The driver of Vehicle 1, James Gougeon (age 50) of Plant City, was charged with following crimes: Fleeing to Elude with Reckless High Speed involving Injury or Death (F1)(1 count), Leaving the Scene of a Crash Involving Death (F1)(1 count), Knowingly Driving on a Suspended License with 3 or More Offenses (F3)(1 count), Leaving the Scene of a Crash Involving Injury (F3)(3 counts), Leaving the Scene of a Crash Involving Property Damage (M2)(4 Counts). Citations were also issued for Careless Driving, Expired Tag/Registration less than 6 months, and Fail to Stop at a Steady Red Signal.

The roadway was shut down for approximately 7.5 hours to process the scene for the ongoing investigation.

Anyone with information regarding the crash is asked to contact Traffic Crash Investigator Officer Travis Payne at [email protected].

For questions related to law enforcement action prior to the crash, please contact Captain Alfed Van Duyne with the Plant City Police Department at (813) 757-9200 or [email protected].

Vehicle 1 – Driver/Arrestee

James Edward Gougeon III

Age: 50

Plant City, FL

Vehicle 2 – Driver

Shaneka Ming Stewart

Age: 43

Lakeland, FL

Vehicle 2 – Passenger

Zion Townsend

Age: 25

Lakeland, FL

Vehicle 3 – Driver (Deceased)

Pamela Damewood


Lakeland, FL

Vehicle 4 – Driver

Blanca Estrada

Age: 46

Lakeland, FL

Vehicle 4 – Passenger

Mia Estrada Roldan

Age: 18

Lakeland, FL

Vehicle 5 – Driver

Jack Darch

Age: 24

Mulberry, FL

Vehicle 6 – Driver

Cassandra Bachrodt

Age: 30

Mulberry, FL

Vehicle 6 – Passenger

Sawyer Bachrodt

Age: 8

Mulberry, FL

Vehicle 7 – Driver

Adam Watson

Age: 41

Lakeland, FL

Vehicle 8 – Driver

Amanda Farley

Age: 18

Lakeland, FL

Haines City Fire Department Battled House Fire Off Lakeview Dr.


HAINES CITY, FL – Yesterday evening, Haines City Fire Department, supported by Polk County Fire Rescue, swiftly addressed a significant fire at a residential property located at 2312 Lakeview Drive. The fire was reported at 5:58 PM, and crews were dispatched immediately to the scene.

Upon arrival, firefighters encountered a two-story house with heavy smoke and flames visible from the front. The fire crews noted a hazardous situation involving a downed and arcing power line near the house, prompting immediate coordination with the power company to secure the area.

The crews made an offensive attack after completing a thorough assessment of the situation. Firefighters attacked the fire from the interior and exterior, concentrating their efforts on the source of the fire, which appeared to be around the home’s electrical meter.

The fire was brought under control within 10 minutes from the first response, with efforts continuing to ensure the fire was fully extinguished and all potential hotspots were managed. Firefighters were able to stop the spread of fire and limit the damage to the interior of the structure.  The operation concluded at 8:34 PM, with all units cleared from the scene.

The building was confirmed unoccupied at the time of the incident, ensuring no injuries to civilians or firefighters. The cause of the fire is believed to be electrical, originating near the house’s exterior wall.

The property owner, whose primary residence is in another state and uses the Haines City property only occasionally, was present after the incident to assess the damage and cooperate with the ongoing investigation.

The Haines City Fire Department acknowledges the prompt actions of its firefighters and the support provided by Polk County Fire Rescue in preventing the fire from spreading further and ensuring public safety.

One Man & One Woman Identified As Victims Of Fiery Crash In Mulberry Wednesday Morning


A fatal two-vehicle crash that occurred about 16-miles south of Mulberry on Wednesday morning, May 29, 2024 remains under investigation by the Polk County Sheriff’s Office.

Both drivers were killed at the scene when a white 2021 Isuzu box truck collided with a white 1999 Peterbilt semi-truck with a dump trailer.

PCSO Deputies and Polk County Fire Rescue were dispatched at about 8:00 AM, to the crash on State Road 37 and Ft. Green Mine Road.

A fire that involved both vehicles spread to nearby grass and brush, but was quickly extinguished.

According to the preliminary investigation by the PCSO’s Traffic Homicide Unit, the box truck had been traveling south on SR 37 behind several other vehicles, and the semi was heading north.

As the vehicles approached the intersection, a vehicle traveling south began to make a left (east) turn onto Ft. Green Mine Road.

Investigators believe the box truck driver failed to notice the vehicles in front of her slowing down, and when she did notice, she attempted to avoid a collision with the vehicle in front of her by swerving to the left into the northbound lane and into the path of the oncoming semi.

The collision caused the semi to flip over.

The driver of the box truck was determined to be an adult female, and the driver of the semi-truck was an adult male.

Both victims have been tentatively identified by detectives, but not yet confirmed.

SR 37 remained closed until about 3:45 PM Wednesday afternoon.

Bartow Police Officer From Lake Wales Arrested After Allegedly Plying 4 Teenage Girls With Drugs & Alcohol & Having Freaky Sex With Them

A Bartow Police Department officer was arrested by detectives from the Polk County Sheriff’s Office, after the PCSO was requested by Bartow PD on May 8, 2024 to investigate his actions involving four teenage females, inappropriate video, drugs, and alcohol. 

24-year old Markanthony Fernandez was charged Tuesday, May 28, 2024 at the Polk County Jail with four felonies and six misdemeanors for events that occurred during the weekend of February 3, 2024…events that Fernandez recorded on video and sent to fellow officers at Bartow PD. Those officers reported it to their supervisors.

“Markanthony Fernandez has embarrassed his community, police department, and law enforcement officers everywhere. In contrast, his fellow officers at Bartow Police Department did the right thing by reporting his conduct. Markanthony Fernandez must never wear a badge again.” – Grady Judd, Sheriff 

The investigation identified four females involved with the incident in February; two were 18-years old, the other two victims were 17 and 16-years old.

Fernandez recorded several videos. One video showed one of the 18-year old girl’s wearing a Bartow PD jacket, while a 17-year old committed a sexual act on the 18-year-old at the urging of Fernandez. Several of the videos show the victims naked with Fernandez inside his residence. 

Fernandez provided all four with alcoholic beverages, THC vape pens, and THC gummies.

Fernandez was also accused of going into a bedroom at his residence where the 16-year old was, and began to touch her and choke her. 

Markanthony Fernandez was booked-in at the Polk County Jail and charged with: Promotion of a Juvenile in a Sexual Performance (F2), Use of a Juvenile in a Sexual Performance (F2), Battery by Strangulation (F3), Illegal Use of a 2-Way Communication Device (F3), Contributing to the Delinquency of a Minor (M1, 2-counts), and Provide Alcoholic Beverages to A Person Under 21-Years of Age (M2, 4-counts).

Fernandez has been on administrative leave since February and his employment with Bartow PD is pending termination based on his arrest.