Fierce

Florida Sheriff’s Office Surprises 20-Year-Old, Who Is Raising Her 5 Siblings, With A New Car

For the past six years, 20-year-old Samantha Rodriguez has not been living the typical carefree life that a regular young girl would be. Her life turned tragic in 2013 when her mother lost her battle with cancer — and if that weren’t enough to shake her world, her father died of cancer three years later. Since then Samantha has been raising her five young siblings all on her own. She and her family do, however, have guardian angles very nearby.

The Florida Sherrif’s Office has been secretly raising funds to purchase a new car for Samantha and her siblings.

Twitter/@OrangeCoSheriff

The law officers first met Samantha and her five siblings — Milagro, 15, Brenda, 14, Michael, 13, 8-year-old Bella, eight, and 7-year-old Destiny — during Christmastime last year. The sheriff’s office invited the family to their offices and what they got was much more than a visit.

“We took pictures with the officers and the helicopter,” Samantha said, according to CNN. “Then they said, ‘Let’s go into this room for milk and cookies.’ The room was filled with Christmas presents for the family.”

“We focused on clothes but also toys,” Lieutenant Antorrio Wright told CNN. “We wanted to give them a good Christmas.”

The officials said they have “adopted” Samantha and her siblings, and what to help them as much as they can.

Twitter/@OrangeCoSheriff

When Samantha arrived at their offices in an Uber, officials realized they didn’t own a car, so their next goal was to get them a car. They launched a Gofundme page and within a day have raised more than $10,000.

Yesterday they invited Samantha for a visit but this time to surprise her with a brand new Nissan Versa.

“When they told me the car is for us, I remember thinking, ‘They just took away all these worries and stresses.'” she told CNN. “It was such a big weight off my shoulder and will help so much.”

According to Daily Mail, Samantha is also looking forward to doing the kinds of things they used to do before the tragic passing of their parents.

“Now that we have a car, we can go to church on Sundays like we used to. And the kids have already asked to go to the park. The possibilities are endless,” Samantha said.

As Samantha continues her job as a waitress at Disney Springs at Disney World, the Florida Sheriffs office is hoping to be able to assist them when they need it.

Twitter/@OrangeCoSheriff

“Anything I can do, or we can do with the Sheriff’s blessing we will. I’m proud of my unit,” Wright said to CNN. “It’s heartwarming. It wasn’t just me — it was the unit, and all these people came together to help.”

Click here if you’d like to help Samantha and her family.

READ: RAICES Collects Millions To Help Keep Families Together. Here’s Where The Money Is Going

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com

Naked Woman Is Stuck In Storm Drain For Weeks But How She Got There Is Even More Strange

Things That Matter

Naked Woman Is Stuck In Storm Drain For Weeks But How She Got There Is Even More Strange

Rescuers are still scratching their heads after helping a woman out of a storm drain, where she had allegedly been trapped for weeks. Although her family is glad that the woman has been rescued, they have more questions than answers about the woman’s past few weeks.

Woman is rescued from storm drain after being missing for three weeks.

A 43-year-old woman who had been missing for three weeks was rescued Tuesday after she was found trapped inside a storm drain just a few feet away from a busy street in the Florida city of Delray Beach. She was naked and unable to stand on her own.

The bizarre rescue began when a good Samaritan heard yelling coming from a drain and called 911, according to Delray Beach Fire Rescue. How she ended up in the drain is even more unusual:

The woman told officers she went for a swim in a canal near her boyfriend’s home in West Delray Beach on March 3, according to Delray Beach police.

“While she was swimming, she came across a doorway near a shallow part of the canal. She stated she entered the doorway and noticed a tunnel,” reads the March 23 incident report. According to the report, she became curious and began walking down the tunnel, which led to another tunnel and so on until she became lost.

Thanks to the good Samaritan, the woman is now recovering.

Credit: DELRAY BEACH FIRE RESCUE / FACEBOOK

If it weren’t for the compassion of one bystander, the woman could still be trapped. “There’s a lady stuck in a sewer, yes ma’am, she cannot get out. She’s screaming for help … she don’t have no clothes,” a woman told the 911 operator, according to a recording of the call the Miami Herald obtained through a public record request. The woman told the operator she was in her car, with her windows down, when she heard the screams.

The woman will now undergo a mental assessment. Her mother told police she has a history of mental illness and is known for “doing odd things and making bad decisions when she is high on drugs,” according to the report. Police said she is a Methadone patient and that her last dose was the day prior to her disappearance.

Her boyfriend had reported her missing three weeks before her rescue.

The woman had been reported missing by her boyfriend on March 3, after 9 p.m., when he spoke to the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office.

Police say they don’t know how long the woman was in the tunnels. The woman claims she was walking in the tunnels, lost, for about three weeks until she “saw some light” and decided to sit there because she saw people walking by, according to the report. It’s unclear how long it took for someone to notice her.

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com

Florida Moves To Ban Iguanas (Among Other Animals) As They Start Showing Up In People’s Toilets

Things That Matter

Florida Moves To Ban Iguanas (Among Other Animals) As They Start Showing Up In People’s Toilets

There’s never a dull moment in Florida. The state is well known for its fondness for all things exotic and/or strange, it has a long history of accommodating religious cults and now the ex-President Trump calls the state home. But now the state is trying to clamp down on another unwanted resident – invasive reptiles that are overrunning the state and literally showing up in people’s toilets.

Florida moves to ban iguanas as they become an invasive species in the state.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission has ruled that within the next few weeks the breeding and dealing of 16 of the most ecologically-damaging non-native species must be brought to a halt. The ban will apply to several types of python that have proliferated to crisis point in the Everglades, as well as all types of tegu lizards, anacondas, Nile monitor lizards and green iguanas.

Green iguanas have multiplied in Florida to such a degree since they were first spotted there in 1960 that they are regarded as an environmental hazard. They puncture seawalls, tear up sidewalks and carry salmonella.

An animal once prized as an exotic curiosity is now widely decried as a pest. The iguanas hang out on roofs, dig under houses and to the horror of home owners can crawl into sewers only to emerge, thrashing around, in the toilet bowl.

The state conservation commission now encourages Floridians to humanely kill the lizards, which can grow up to 5ft and 17lbs, on their own property. No hunting licenses are required.

Iguanas are just one of many exotic animals that have become a problem for the state.

In an effort to protect local ecology, economy, and human health, the state is making it illegal for Floridians to breed or sell such animals as Burmese and scrub pythons, Green anacondas, Nile monitors, green iguanas, and tegus, among several other invasive species. Finalized on February 25, the new rules are meant to improve the regulations on the ownership of invasive reptiles in Florida, and they’re expected to go into effect later this summer. 

“Stringent biosecurity measures are required for those entities in possession of Prohibited species to limit escapes,” declares the Florida wildlife commission in its guidelines. 

These reptiles are becoming a major menace in the state, ravaging sensitive ecosystems and wreaking havoc in urban environments. The Burmese python, for example, is now endemic in the Everglades, where it consumes a wide variety of prey. 

But not everyone is onboard with the idea of banning the sale of these animals.

When the commission debated the rules last month it was inundated with comments, many from exotic pet owners and breeders pleading for the ban not to go ahead. As the Washington Post reported, one woman burst into tears over the idea of losing her pet iguanas and pythons.

“If you take them away, I would be really messed up,” she wailed.

But the spread of invasive species through sensitive ecosystems such as the Everglades is happening at such speed that the state felt duty bound to act. The reptiles are also causing havoc in urban areas.

To soften the blow to pet owners, a concession has been tucked into the new regulations. Anyone who cannot contemplate the thought of being parted from their iguana or tegu can apply for a free permit. But the reprieve will last only for the life of the animal. Once the critter is gone, it cannot be replaced by a new pet from the list of banned species.

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com