Father allegedly snatches boys, flees to Cuba
Cole, left, and Chase Hakken were allegedly abducted last week from their grandmother's Florida home.
April 9th, 2013
05:42 PM ET

Father allegedly snatches boys, flees to Cuba

The Cuban government said Tuesday it plans to hand over members of the Hakken family to U.S. authorities, shortly after a CNN reporter in Havana spotted the man who allegedly snatched his two sons from their grandmother's Florida home.

Josh Hakken confirmed his identity when approached at the Hemingway Marina in Havana, but he didn't say more. The two boys are OK, said a woman matching the description of his wife, and she left it at that.

The couple lost custody of their children last year. Last week, they allegedly took the children in Tampa and headed toward Cuba.

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Miami Heat's 27-game win streak over
LeBron James and the Miami Heat saw their winning streak end at 27 games with at 101-97 loss to the Chicago Bulls on Wednesday.
March 27th, 2013
11:17 PM ET

Miami Heat's 27-game win streak over

The Miami Heat's 27-game win streak ended Wednesday night with a 101-97 loss to the Chicago Bulls.

The 1971-1972 Los Angeles Lakers' run of 33 straight consecutive victories remains the NBA record.

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Filed under: Basketball • Florida • NBA • Sports
MLB sues Florida clinic, accuses it of supplying banned drugs to players
Slugger Manny Ramirez is among players who supposedly received banned substances from Biogenesis.
March 22nd, 2013
05:33 PM ET

MLB sues Florida clinic, accuses it of supplying banned drugs to players

Major League Baseball filed a lawsuit Friday seeking damages against the South Florida clinic Biogenesis of America and its operator, Anthony Bosch, for allegedly providing performance-enhancing drugs to players, the pro sports league said.

According to reports and the MLB suit, filed in state court in Florida's Miami-Dade County, the clinic reportedly supplied banned performance-enhancing substances to a number of current and former pro baseball players such as ex-Boston Red Sox Manny Ramirez.

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Filed under: Baseball • Courts • Florida • Sports • U.S.
March 18th, 2013
07:36 AM ET

Body, explosive devices found in UCF dorm

A body with a self-inflicted gunshot wound was found along with a bag of explosives in a dormitory room at the University of Central Florida early Monday, prompting officials to cancel classes at the main Orlando campus until at least noon, a school spokesman said.

Police made the discovery shortly after 12:20 a.m., after a fire alarm sounded at the Tower 1 dorm and someone called 911 about a person with a gun there, school spokesman Grant Heston said. Officers entered the dorm and found a male dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound in a bedroom, Heston said.

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March 16th, 2013
03:03 PM ET

2 injured in Miami air balloon crash

Two people - among them, pro football player Donte Stallworth - were hospitalized Saturday after the hot air balloon they were riding in crashed into power lines in Miami, police said. A third person in the balloon was not injured.

Stallworth suffered severe burns and is in stable condition at Miami's Kendall Regional Medical Center, said his attorney, Christopher Lyons. His agent, Drew Rosenhaus, confirmed Stallworth was injured but said he "will be fine."

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March 15th, 2013
02:05 AM ET

Workers injured in stage accident in Miami

An incident at a stage being set up for a weekend music festival injured at least two people in Miami on Thursday night.

A Miami fire department official said the stage partially collapsed, injuring four people, one of them critically.

But a spokeswoman for the music festival where the stage was being installed said that fewer were injured and that the stage did not collapse.

Workers were making preparations for a concert event when part of an LED screen fell and injured two, said Ultra Music Festival spokeswoman Alexandra Greenberg.

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Filed under: Florida
Florida Lt. Gov. Carroll resigns
March 13th, 2013
11:09 AM ET

Florida Lt. Gov. Carroll resigns

Florida Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll resigned Tuesday as questions arose over a company for which she previously consulted.

In a two-sentence resignation letter delivered to Gov. Rick Scott, Carroll said it was an "honor to have served."

The resignation came a day after some people were arrested "for racketeering and money laundering charges in connection with Allied Veterans of the World's illegal gambling companies," Scott's chief of staff Adam Hollingsworth said. Carroll consulted for Allied Veterans while serving in the state House of Representatives in 2009 and 2010.

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Filed under: Florida • Politics
Boy pulled from Disney resort pool dies
Disney's Pop Century resort opened in late 2003.
March 13th, 2013
01:03 AM ET

Boy pulled from Disney resort pool dies

Two days after he was pulled from the bottom of a swimming pool at a Disney resort in Florida, a 13-year-old boy from Missouri has died.

Anthony Johnson passed away Tuesday morning, according to the Orange County Sheriff's office. No cause of death was given.

"We are saddened by Anthony Johnson's passing and our hearts go out to his family, friends and loved ones," a statement from Disney said. "We have reached out to his family to offer care and assistance during this difficult time."

The boy was swimming at Disney's Pop Century Resort pool on Sunday evening with family members and other guests when he was spotted in about 4 feet of water by a cousin, who pulled him out, sheriff's deputies told CNN affiliate WKMG-TV. Lifeguards were not on duty at the time of the incident.

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Filed under: Florida
March 4th, 2013
01:53 AM ET

Workers destroy Florida home with sinkhole

As a giant crane plunged into the Florida home where a massive sinkhole swallowed a man whole, pieces of the family's lives were pushed into public view.

Walls with picture frames on them came crashing down. Baby toys and clothes on hangers were raked across the ground.

A woman wept as an official handed her a framed portrait. Others lovingly salvaged military awards, a Bible, a pink teddy bear, and an American flag that hung near the house's front door.

Workers started demolishing the blue, one-story home as carefully as they could Sunday to try to salvage belongings for the family of the victim, Jeff Bush.

That delicate process will continue Monday.

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Filed under: Florida • U.S.
Central Florida wildfire scorches 1,900 acres
The brush fire burned more than 24 structures -- 10 of them homes -- in central Florida's Marion County, authorities said.
March 3rd, 2013
10:00 PM ET

Central Florida wildfire scorches 1,900 acres

A wildfire jumped a road in central Florida, scorching homes and wiping out trees as it charred more than 1,900 acres, a fire official said Sunday.

Some 24 structures in Marion County had been burned by what's being called the Hopkins Prairie Fire, said U.S. Forest Service spokeswoman Susan Blake. Ten of those buildings were homes, according to a tweet from the National Weather Service.

The blaze around Ocala National Forest was 80% contained as of early Sunday evening, Blake added. About 100 local, state and federal firefighters were on site.

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Filed under: Fire • Florida
Sinkhole home to be demolished
March 3rd, 2013
01:08 AM ET

Sinkhole home to be demolished

Unable to rescue a man devoured by a giant sinkhole, workers will start demolishing his Florida home Sunday - three days after the ground under his bedroom literally opened up and swallowed him whole.

Authorities made the heartbreaking decision to stop the search for Jeff Bush after the odds of survival became abundantly clear.

"We just have not been able to locate Mr. Bush, and so for that reason the rescue effort is being discontinued," Hillsborough County administrator Mike Merrill told reporters Saturday evening. "At this point, it's really not possible to recover the body."

Earlier, authorities warned that the massive hole under Bush's bedroom - about 20 feet wide and 50 to 60 feet deep - was still expanding, and the suburban Tampa house could collapse at any time.

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Filed under: Florida • U.S.
March 2nd, 2013
10:30 PM ET

Florida calls off search for man in sinkhole

Authorities in Florida gave up the search Saturday for a man presumed dead after a sinkhole opened beneath the bedroom of his family's suburban Tampa home, swallowing him up.

The effort to recover the body of Jeff Bush had resumed earlier in the day after authorities stopped operations overnight, saying the hole was still expanding and the house could collapse at any time.

"We just have not been able to locate Mr. Bush and so for that reason the rescue effort is being discontinued," Mike Merrill, county administrator for Hillsborough County, told reporters Saturday evening. "At this point, it's really not possible to recover the body."

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Filed under: Florida • Natural Disasters • U.S.
March 2nd, 2013
10:20 PM ET

Florida brush fire prompts evacuation of 300 homes

A fast-moving brush fire near Daytona Beach forced the evacuation of 300 homes and spread to 1,000 acres Saturday, Greg Dunn of the Florida Forest Service said.

Interstate 95 in Volusia County was closed in both directions because of the fire and poor visibility, said Sgt. Kim Montes of the Florida Highway Patrol.

Thick smoke rose from the fast-moving fire, which was being fueled by high winds and low humidity, Dunn said, adding he expects the same conditions Sunday.

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Filed under: Fire • Florida • U.S.
March 1st, 2013
06:16 AM ET

Police: Sinkhole victim presumed dead

[Posted at 6:12 a.m. ET] Police now say that the 36-year-old man who disappeared when a sinkhole opened up underneath his Brandon, Florida, bedroom early Friday is presumed dead.

It's not confirmed, but I think it's safe to presume," Hillsborough County fire department spokeswoman Jessica Damico said Friday morning.

[Posted at 2:11 a.m. ET] A 36-year-old man disappeared Thursday night after a sinkhole opened up underneath his bedroom in Florida, authorities said.

Right after the ground started to give way in his home in Brandon, the man's brother frantically tried to keep him from sinking into the hole, an emergency official said.

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Filed under: Florida
March 1st, 2013
03:52 AM ET

Man thwarts Florida thief with glass cleaner

While assault rifles are flying off the shelves in America, a Florida man has shown that home defense can be done much more cheaply - with a bottle of glass cleaner.

Jacques Baillargeon, 66, was relaxing in Lauderdale Lakes with his wife Tuesday, when a man entered their condo holding a gun and a crowbar, according to law enforcement.

The crowbar turned out to be not only unnecessary, but also got the perpetrator, Nathaniel Smith, 29, caught for this home invasion - and a previous one.

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Filed under: Crime • Florida
Danica Patrick to start first at Daytona
Danica Patrick speaks to reporters after qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on Sunday.
February 17th, 2013
03:45 PM ET

Danica Patrick to start first at Daytona

Danica Patrick became the first woman to win pole position in NASCAR's Sprint Cup Series history, posting the top qualifying time for the Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on Sunday.

Her lap of 45.817 seconds at a top speed of 196.434 mph means she'll start in the front row in the February 24 race, alongside Jeff Gordon.

Two previous pole positions earned by women in NASCAR came in the Nationwide Series. Those were earned by Patrick last year at Daytona, and Shawna Robinson in 1994 in Atlanta, according to NASCAR.

Patrick, 30, is in her first full year as a NASCAR Sprint Cup driver. Last year she made 10 Sprint Cup starts.

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Filed under: Auto racing • Florida • NASCAR • Sports
February 16th, 2013
07:24 PM ET

Final take in Florida hunt is 68 pythons

They can reach lengths of 18 feet and their numbers are estimated to be in the tens of thousands, but Burmese pythons, a nuisance in the Everglades, aren't easy to find.

"It's an amazing challenge to try to come out and hunt these big snakes," hunter Dennis Jordan told CNN Miami affiliate WSVN in the closing days of the 2013 Python Challenge sponsored by state officials.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission announced Saturday that 68 Burmese pythons were taken during the January 12-February 10 competition that drew 1,600 registrants lured by prizes of up to $1,500.

Though the take was small, wildlife officials said their main aim was heightening public awareness of the invasive species.

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Filed under: Environment • Florida • Snakes
February 16th, 2013
07:14 PM ET

Texas police: Prisoner who stabbed detective killed days after escape

Authorities in Texas shot and killed an escaped prisoner early Saturday, several days after they say he stabbed a detective tasked with taking him across the country.

Alberto Morales, 42, was killed shortly after he was located in a wooded area in Grapevine, near Dallas, said Grapevine Police Department spokesman Sgt. Robert Eberling.

With the help of a helicopter, authorities found Morales not far from a home where someone stole jewelery and men's clothing.

"At this point, as far as the investigation is concerned, Mr. Morales was shot and is now deceased. This matter is still under investigation ... and we'll have more details at a later point," Eberling told reporters.

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Filed under: Crime • Florida • Justice • Nevada • Texas • U.S.
Burt Reynolds in intensive care after coming down with flu, rep says
Burt Reynolds was among Hollywood's most popular actors in the 1970s and 1980s, thanks to his leading roles in movies like "Smokey and the Bandit" -- as he is shown in here, facing off with actress Sally Fields.
January 25th, 2013
08:26 PM ET

Burt Reynolds in intensive care after coming down with flu, rep says

Actor Burt Reynolds is in intensive care in a Florida hospital, where he went for treatment of flu symptoms, one of his representatives said Friday.

Reynolds was dehydrated when he went to the hospital, and was eventually transferred to its intensive care unit, his representative Erik Kritzer told CNN.

"He is doing better at this time," Kritzer said late Friday afternoon of the 76-year-old actor. "We expect, as soon as he gets more fluids, he will be back in a regular room."

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Filed under: Florida • Movies • TV
FAMU pledges reforms after hazing report
Florida A&M University student and band member Robert Champion, 26, died in November 2011.
January 24th, 2013
02:43 PM ET

FAMU pledges reforms after hazing report

Florida A&M University is undertaking reforms to address hazing on and off campus, according to a written response the school released after a scathing report that alleged it had done too little.

The Florida Board of Governors, which manages the state's universities, put out the report after drum major Robert Champion died following a beating he took in November 2011 aboard a school bus after a football game in Orlando, Florida.

The hazing was part of a ritual known as "Crossing Bus C," in which pledges attempt to run down the bus aisle while being punched, kicked and assaulted by more senior members of the school's famed marching band.

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