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Police: Man punched son, 3 months

HOLLY HILL — Authorities say a central Florida man was arrested for punching his 3-month-old son in the stomach twice and then slapping him across the mouth.

Authorities say the baby was hospitalized with five fractured ribs.

The man, the baby’s father, was in jail Tuesday and is charged with aggravated child battery.

Authorities say that the man, his girlfriend and the baby were sleeping on their bed Monday, when the baby started crying.

Authorities say the man told detectives he rolled over and punched the infant twice on the stomach with a closed fist. Authorities say that later he picked up the child to give him his bottle and slapped him across the mouth because he still would not stop crying.

U.S. Coast Guard returns 88 migrants to Haiti

MIAMI — Nearly 90 Haitian migrants have been returned to northern Haiti.

The U.S. Coast Guard says three children were among 88 Haitian nationals aboard a 50-foot sail freighter found Saturday taking on water 45 miles north off the Isle de la Tortue, an island off the Caribbean country’s northern coast.

The migrants received food and basic medical care aboard Coast Guard vessels before being returned Tuesday to Cap-Haitien, about 80 miles north of Port-au-Prince, Haiti’s earthquake-crippled capital.

Haitian leaders in Miami called the return last week of 80 other Haitian migrants “inhumane.”

Disney cleared of safety violations in death

ORLANDO — Walt Disney World has been cleared of any workplace safety violations related the death last summer of a stunt performer who was rehearsing for a show.

A U.S. Occupational Safety & Health Administration spokesman said Tuesday that the agency found no safety violations following a six-month investigation.

The performer, 30-year-old Anislav Varbanov, was killed in August while rehearsing for the “Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular.” A witness said Varbanov, who had just recently joined the cast of the show, was practicing a relatively routine tumble roll when he landed awkwardly on his neck.

Man pleads no contest to feeding wildlife

LONGWOOD — A central Florida man who opened his door and was slapped by a bear has pleaded no contest to a charge of feeding wildlife.

Forty-nine-year-old Ernest Stamm was fined $200 and ordered to serve six months’ probation on Tuesday.

In December, he told authorities he opened his door and something swiped him across the face.

When emergency crews arrived, they found a bear in his front yard. Stamm was treated at a hospital for cuts to his face and released.

Police investigate South Fla. synagogue vandalism

BOCA RATON — Police are investigating vandalism at a South Florida synagogue as a hate crime.

Authorities say burglars damaged property and left behind anti-Semitic and racist messages throughout Temple Beth El.

On Monday night, firefighters responded to a fire alarm at the Boca Raton synagogue. They found damages, including broken chairs and vases. Several messages were also carved into doors in the temple’s bathroom including a swastika.

Identities released on bodies found in lot

FORT PIERCE — Authorities have identified the bodies of a homicide suspect and his girlfriend found in a St. Lucie County lot.

The sheriff’s office said Monday that the bodies of 21-year-old Travis John Lattimore and 35-year-old Sharpkina Yolanda Woods were found face down in a vacant lot. They appear to have been shot once Sunday morning.

Man being sought in tomato fight, neck fracture

MIAMI — Miami authorities are looking for a man they say attacked a father who was showing his 10-year-old daughter a tomato field.

Robert Lerner of Miami Beach says he was driving his daughter to a photo shoot on Jan. 28 when they stopped at a tomato field so she could pick one. The 44-year-old Lerner said a man claiming to be the owner of the field parked his car in front of them.

Lerner said the man kept yelling and calling them thieves even though he tried explaining it was one tomato they had picked.

The unidentified man attacked Lerner, fracturing his neck, then took off.

Man suspected of robbing casino found dead

OAKLAND PARK — A man suspected of robbing a casino last month has been found dead inside a Broward County home after a stand-off with authorities.

The unidentified man is accused of showing a gun and taking thousands of dollars from a cashier at the Seminole Coconut Creek Casino on Jan. 29. Surveillance video released last week lead detectives to the Oakland Park home Monday.

The Broward Sheriff’s Office SWAT team surrounded the home, but the suspect refused to leave. Several hours later, authorities said they heard gunshots. By nighttime, the man was found dead inside.

Woman dies after crashing her SUV into a pond

ORLANDO — An Orlando woman died after losing control of her sport utility vehicle and driving into a retention pond.

The Florida Highway Patrol reports that 26-year-old Sparkle Corinee Pomeroy was trapped in her submerged vehicle for about 30 minutes Monday morning before rescuers could free her. She was taken to an Orlando hospital in critical condition and died Monday afternoon.

Three commuters jumped into the water to help Pomeroy immediately after the crash, but they were unable to get her unbuckled from her seat belt.

Python stolen from shopping center petting zoo

FORT MYERS — Authorities are looking for a python that was reported stolen from a petting zoo in Fort Myers.

The snake’s owner told Lee County deputies that the 9-and-a-half-foot-long female was locked in its cage Saturday night but was gone the next morning.

The snake was part of a petting zoo set up in a tent in a shopping center parking lock.

The lock on the snake’s cage was cut, and a blanket covering the cage had been lifted.

Pythons are an invasive species to Florida and have been designated a reptile of concern.

— Herald wire reports

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