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26 turtles released from treatment

MARATHON — More than two dozen green sea turtles have been released off the Florida Keys after treatment for exposure to chilly temperatures earlier this month.

The 26 turtles ranged in size from 15 to 60 pounds were treated at the Marathon-based Turtle Hospital.

The Turtle Hospital and Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission coordinated the release in Florida Bay on Monday, just a few miles off the Keys. Treatment for “cold-stunning,” as the condition is known, simply involves warming turtles’ body temperatures and feeding them.

Condo heavily damaged after Christmas tree fire

TARPON SPRINGS — A Florida Gulf Coast condo is a total loss after a Christmas tree caught fire.

Police and firefighters responded to the blaze early Sunday afternoon in Tarpon Springs. The Tarpon Springs Police Department says the occupants of the condo were able to escape unharmed. Surrounding units were evacuated but not damaged.

It’s unknown what caused the Christmas tree to catch fire.

Official: Boy, 3, wandered outside alone in diaper

TITUSVILLE — Authorities say a 3-year-old boy wandered alone nearly a quarter-mile and suffered a head injury over the weekend before a neighbor discovered him standing on her porch on Florida’s Atlantic coast.

Brevard County Sheriff’s Lt. J.J. Woolsey says the child was just wearing a diaper. He added that detectives are pursuing child neglect charges against the toddler’s mother and 20-year-old sister, who was baby-sitting him when he vanished.

Sheriff’s investigators will forward the case to the State Attorney’s Office for review today.

Teen arrested in stabbing of neighbor for $34

LAUDERDALE LAKES — A South Florida teenager has been accused of fatally stabbing a 62-year-old neighbor for $34.

According to the Broward Sheriff’s Office, the 16-year-old told authorities that he stabbed Vibbins Williams during a robbery Saturday night in Lauderdale Lakes.

Williams was barely alive when she was discovered by her granddaughter. She was transported to a local hospital but pronounced dead on arrival.

The teen was charged with first-degree murder and taken to the juvenile assessment center. It’s unclear if he already has an attorney.

Bicyclist killed in South Florida hit-and-run collision

KEY BISCAYNE — A bicyclist is dead following a hit-and-run crash on a South Florida causeway.

According to the Miami-Dade Police Department, Carlos G. Bertonatti struck cyclist Christopher Lecanne with a silver Volkswagen Jetta on the Rickenbacker Causeway on Sunday morning. Lecanne’s crushed bike was reportedly dragged for blocks before the driver was stopped by police in Key Biscayne.

Bertonatti faces several charges, including vehicular homicide and DUI manslaughter. According to online records, he was jailed $32,000 bond and is being held for immigration authorities. It’s unclear if he had an attorney.

Girl, 9, found under bush after all-night search

JACKSONVILLE — A 9-year-old girl who was the subject of a 20-hour search in north Florida is back in the care of her parents.

Markisha Jackson packed a pink backpack and sneaked out a window after she was sent to her room Friday. Her mother, Takisha Jackson, says Markisha had never threatened to run away.

Authorities in Jacksonville started searching for Markisha on Friday night. She was located Saturday, when a neighbor saw her hiding in his yard. Markisha says she spent the night sleeping under a bush.

Sailing regatta set to begin off the Keys

KEY WEST — The five-day Key West sailing regatta is set to begin off the Florida Keys.

Crews from more than 14 countries and 20 states are filing in for the five-day event.

Joe Fly, skippered by Italian Giovanni Masperon, and Barking Mad, with Jim Richardson of Newport, R.I., at the helm, are likely top contenders for the marquee Farr 40 class race.

They finished second and third, respectively, last year.

Danish Crown Prince Frederik was also expected to attend, but official duties have prevented him from participating. His boat, the Nanoq, is in Key West and will be skippered by a Danish tactician.

— Herald wire services

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