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Daily Archives: June 21, 2013

Father abandons young son asleep, surrounded by mosquitos

The sheriff’s department arrested a Macclenny man for abandoning his sleeping young child in the early morning hours of June 11 following a fight with his live-in girlfriend.

Timothy Leighton Jr., 30, was charged later that day with domestic battery on Rachel Crawford, 26, who he allegedly threw to the ground and choked, and neglect of the unnamed child found by deputies in a bedroom of the couple’s squalid residence that morning about 1 o’clock.

Deputy Robert Simpkins said a neighbor reported the couple arguing loudly outside the residence, and when he and other officers arrived the only person on the property was the child sleeping in a mosquito-infested room with broken windows.

A canvas of the property turned up a four-foot marijuana plant allegedly belonging to Mr. Leighton, who later said he returned to the area but fled on foot when he saw patrol cars. He was located about 10 that morning sleeping at a residence on Hollie Lane.

The boyfriend and girlfriend each claimed they assumed the other returned to watch the child.

Mr. Leighton was also booked for growing the pot, a felony.

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GA man attempts to take ex’s child

A St. George, GA man was named in a criminal complaint for battery and disturbing the peace at the St. Mary’s River boat landing on Steel Bridge Rd. the afternoon of Father’s Day after he accosted an ex-girlfriend and attempted to snatch her young son who he believes is his.

Melissa Branch, 25, of Glen St. Mary and two witnesses told Deputy Robert Simpkins that Andrew Perry, 26, confronted her, took her son into his arms and said he was leaving with the child. When she resisted, he allegedly grabbed her by the arm and spun her around when the witnesses intervened.

Ms. Branch told the officer that a DNA test determined Mr. Perry was not the father of the child and he refuses to believe it, insisting he wanted to visit “his son” on Father’s Day.

The witnesses also claimed Mr. Perry was loudly abusive and spouted profanities in the presence of other persons in the vicinity.

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Tenth grade reading scores jump

Baker County’s tenth grade reading scores shot up this year with nearly two-thirds of the high school’s sophomores passing the FCAT reading test last spring.

The latest round of testing results released by the Florida Department of Education in early June also show that ninth graders made modest gains, middle schoolers saw only minor shifts in the percentage of students passing the FCAT reading and math exams, and students at Keller Intermediate

School lost some ground compared to the previous year in reading and fifth grade math.

“Baker County School District plans to use these assessments as a point of conversation to determine the next steps in helping all of our students achieve their academic goals,” said Susan Voorhees, the district’s director of accountability and testing, in a written statement regarding the results.

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Top finishes for many swimmers

Amaya Figueroa in the freestyle.

Amaya Figueroa in the freestyle.

The Baker Bullets started their YMCA swim season with a strong showings June 15 at the Barco-Newton Y in Fleming Island. Both boys and girls swimmers turned in winning times in the meet.

Ashton Ray, Ashley Jennings, Andrea Clark and Abby Rice swept the girls 50 yard freestyle. Elizabeth Reagan and Kyrie Holman were third and fourth in the Girls 13-14 50 free.

Ethan Knight, Danile Boehm and Joseph Boehm were second, third and fourth in the boys 13-14 50 free. Audri Leis was second in the 11-12, 50 free.

Daniel Westinghouse was third in the boys 50 free.Jordan Knight was first in the 6 and under 25 free and Will Nickles was second in the boys event. Andrea Clark was first and Kate Whitehead third in the girls 100 yard backstroke.

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