FORT LAUDERDALE — A newspaper investigation shows that thousands of dead people and convicted felons remain on Florida’s voter registration rolls.
The South Florida Sun-Sentinel reported Sunday it found at least 9,700 felons whose civil rights haven’t been restored and at least 14,000 dead people remain registered.
The numbers are significantly lower than the paper found in 2008. Then, 28,000 dead people and 33,000 felons were registered.
While few votes are cast for the dead, the paper found that about 7,500 felons voted in the state’s 2008 general election.
Florida elections head Dawn Roberts told the paper that based on its findings she is ordering an immediate review of the methods the state uses to identify voters who die or are convicted of a felony.
Authorities search for missing swimmer
TIERRA VERDE — Authorities are searching in southwest Florida for a swimmer who has been missing four days.
The Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office used boats and helicopters to search the area near Fort De Soto Park where 29-year-old Kevin Persad was last seen Wednesday. Witnesses said they tried to save him, but the currents were too strong.
Authorities said the effort has switched from a rescue to a recovery.
Man drowns in Palm Beach County lake accident
WEST PALM BEACH — Authorities have recovered the body of man who fell off a personal watercraft and drowned in a Palm Beach County lake.
The man and another person fell off the water scooter Saturday evening on Lake Osborne. The Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office says neither of them were wearing life jackets.
The Palm Beach Post says one person was saved but the friends said they did not see the victim resurface.
Authorities used sonar to locate his body almost six hours after the accident.
The victim’s name has not been released pending notification of relatives.
Family seeks answers in woman’s train death
NEW SMYRNA BEACH — The family of a Florida woman who somehow fell or was pushed off an Amtrak train in Georgia is asking for witnesses to come forward.
Barbara Arteta, of New Smyrna Beach, was traveling from New York to central Florida when she disappeared Sept. 9 from the train. Her body was found next to the tracks in Jesup, Ga., about 60 miles southwest of Savannah.
The 63-year-old woman had cancer and Parkinson’s disease. Her family told The Daytona Beach News-Journal she couldn’t have opened an emergency window. They say $1,000 was missing from her purse.
Georgia and Amtrak investigators want to interview passengers, especially those riding in cars 5310, 5311, 5312 and 5313. Witnesses may call the Georgia bureau’s tip line at (800) 597-8477.
Man gets electrocuted helping accident victim
JACKSONVILLE — A good Samaritan was electrocuted when he touched a power line downed in a traffic accident.
David Katterhenry, of Jacksonville, had stopped to help a 19-year-old pregnant woman who had swerved to miss a deer and hit a power pole, breaking it in half.
Police say the 52-year-old engineer stepped on a power line and was killed instantly.
The Florida Times-Union reported that Katterhenry and his girlfriend had been on their way to a fishing trip when they came upon the wreck Saturday morning.
The other driver did not appear to suffer serious injuries.
1 dead, 1 hospitalized from West Nile virus
FORT MYERS — A southwest Florida man has died and another was hospitalized after contracting the mosquito-borne West Nile virus.
Collier County health officials urged residents Friday to use mosquito-repellent.
Symptoms include fever, rash, headache, fatigue, weakness and dizziness.
Officials encourage residents to protect themselves by avoiding the outdoors at dusk and dawn, when the bugs are more active; wear clothing that covers most of your skin; and use mosquito repellent with DEET.
Also check around your home to get rid of standing water, where mosquitoes lay eggs.
Burglar steals priceless records from church
PLANT CITY — A southwest Florida church is asking a burglar to return its priceless possessions — a registry of marriages, funerals and baptisms.
The records were stolen from a safe last Sunday at First Presbyterian Church of Plant City just as the church is about to celebrate its 125th anniversary. The safe was fire proof, but wasn’t locked. There was no money inside.
The Rev. David Delph said the burglary saddened him because the church would have helped anyone who needed money.
— Herald wire services