Law & Order

A plane has left Tampa for Havana, where it's believed the Hakken family will be turned over to U.S. authorities. Joshua Hakken and his family sailed to Cuba after he allegedly kidnapped his two young sons from a home in Hillsborough County last week.

CNN is reporting a correspondent in Cuba has spoken to a man who identified himself as Josh Hakken, the Louisiana man accused of kidnapping his two young sons from a home in Hillsborough County last week. Federal and Bay area law enforcement officials believe Hakken and his family sailed to Cuba after he allegedly took the boys from his mother-in-law, who had been given legal custody.

According to a press release from the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office, Joshua Hakken has reportedly brought his wife and the two young sons he allegedly kidnapped to Cuba. Sheriff's officials, the FBI and the U.S. State Department are attempting to confirm a tip they received.

Robert E. O' Neill, U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Florida, announced Thursday morning that he plans to resign this summer. He's leaving his post to take a job with the Freeh Group International Solutions, a global risk management firm with corporate offices in Washington, DC, New York and Wilmington, Del.

 In 2010, O'Neill was an assistant U.S. attorney based in Tampa when President Barack Obama recruited him for his current job. The U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Florida is the top prosecutor for more than half of the state, including Jacksonville, Orlando, Tampa and Fort Myers. It's one of the busiest such offices in the country. 

Here's the text of O'Neill's resignation statement, as posted on the United States Department of Justice website:

New details about one of Mississippi's most infamous murders are coming to light — more than a half-century later. The death of Emmett Till, a 14-year-old black boy who allegedly whistled at a white woman, helped spark the civil rights movement.

Till lived in Chicago, and was visiting his relatives in the Mississippi Delta when he was murdered. His body was mutilated and dumped into a river. The accused were the woman's husband and her half-brother, and their trial drew reporters from both the white and black press.

Katy Hennig / USF News

While researchers from USF continue to wait for permission from a judge to begin exhumations at the closed Dozier School for Boys -- as well as wait for word on how that work will be funded -- the University has released a trio of videos from this past Wednesday's tour of the grounds by a contingent that included U.S. Senator Bill Nelson.

While state officials push for funds to allow a team led by University of South Florida researchers to exhume human remains at the shuttered Dozier School for Boys, a circuit judge must still decide whether or not to allow digging to begin. At the same time, Jackson County commissioners and a critic of the disinterment are reportedly teaming up in opposition to the investigative effort.

Sen. Nelson's staff photo

As USF researchers and government officials, including U.S. Senator Bill Nelson, get ready to tour the grounds of what was once the the Dozier School for Boys in Marianna, the major obstacle of funding the researchers' work may soon be resolved.

A team led by USF Assistant Professor of Anthropology Erin Kimmerle is awaiting approval -- which may come any day -- to begin exhumations of graves found around the school, which was closed after decades of alleged abuse and the mysterious deaths of boys who lived there.

Florida Highway Patrol

If you're wondering why you are only crawling on southbound or northbound Interstate 75 near Wesley Chapel - or really anywhere along that highway around Tampa today - here's why:

The Florida Highway Patrol says early this morning on I-75 near S.R. 56, a mail-carrying semi hit a guard rail and the dump truck behind it plowed into it.

The drivers of both trucks got out okay before both vehicles burst into flames. Both drivers were taken to the hospital to get checked out. The pavement was damaged by leaking fuel, so FHP says that stretch of road may not open up again until at earliest, 6 tonight.


Hillsborough County is following Pinellas' lead. Commissioners have agreed today to restart the conversation on transportation.

The Tampa Bay area is number one. Forbes ranks it the worst city for commuters especially because of our lack of mass transit.

Mark Schreiner / WUSF

The answers to the mystery of what lies below the site of the Dozier School for Boys in Marianna, Fla. -- as well as what happened to many of the young men who may have died and been buried there between 1900 and 1952 -- may be closer than ever before.

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi has filed a petition on behalf of Medical Examiner Dr. Michael Hunter to allow him to exhume human remains from the school's "Boot Hill Cemetery" and surrounding areas.

An elderly South Florida woman was dragged off a train by security for breaking Miami-Dade Transit rules against singing without a permit. Her son says there has to be a better way to handle such things.

Last year when neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman shot Trayvon Martin, the incident cost the unarmed teen his life. It has also been expensive for the City of Sanford.

City Hall has paid $603,000 in expenses related to the case, the Orlando Sentinel reports. The biggest single payout was for police overtime: $131,000.

Other costs have included:

Immigration Group Visits Senator Rubio's Office

Mar 6, 2013
Yoselis Ramos

Various immigration activists have come together into what they're calling The Florida Caravan for Immigration Reform. They visited Senator Marco Rubio's office in Tampa today.

One year ago Tuesday, 17-year-old Trayvon Martin was shot and killed in Sanford, Fla., — a death that would reignite the national debate about race relations and raise questions about the "stand your ground" laws on the books in Florida and 29 other states.

Florida Sees Increase in Hit & Runs

Feb 18, 2013

The Florida Highway Patrol is seeing an increase in hit and run crashes in the state. In 2011, there were 65,516 hit and runs. Last year, that number rose to 69,994.

To help combat the problem, officials are launching a Hit & Run Campaign trying to educate motorists on the responsibilities of being in an accident.

FHP says when you're involved in a vehicle accident, remember the word CRASH:

Courtesy of Chris Davis

This month marks the one-year anniversary of the death of Trayvon Martin. The unarmed Sanford teenager was fatally shot by neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman. When Zimmerman goes on trial for second-degree murder this summer, he's expected to use Florida's Stand Your Ground law as his defense.

A new Quinnipiac University poll finds Americans overwhelmingly support background checks on all gun sales.

The poll found that 92 percent of Americans support the checks, while 7 percent oppose them.

Quinnipiac also found that 52 percent support stricter gun laws and 56 percent support "a ban on the sale of assault weapons."

Puerto Rico's population is declining. Faced with a deteriorating economy, increased poverty and a swelling crime rate, many Puerto Ricans are fleeing the island for the U.S. mainland. In a four-part series, Morning Edition explores this phenomenon, and how Puerto Rico's troubles are affecting its people and other Americans in unexpected ways.

The man accused in the shooting death of an unarmed black teenager will go on trial this spring, as originally scheduled.

This morning, attorneys for Sanford neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman  requested that his trial be delayed until November, saying the prosecutor was slow in turning over important evidence. But Circuit Judge Debra Nelson rejected that request, noting that this problem was not "insurmountable." The trial remains set to begin June 10.