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Letters to the Editors

Friend recalls a 'great lady' who lived in constant fear


© St. Petersburg Times
published August 4, 2002

Re: After deaths, grieving family struggles, July 28

Editor, I was dismayed the only member of Rhonda's family you contacted was Brandi, a grieving teenage daughter. Here is something from the people who knew Rhonda best, her friends:

Rhonda was a wonderful woman. I worked with Rhonda at Arby's, and she was always the bright spot of our day. Anyone who ever met Rhonda knew two things about her: She was a great lady, and she was terrified of her husband.

I knew Rhonda for almost three years, and I never knew a day when they were together that she wasn't completely under his control. When she clocked in and out of work she had to show him her time slips to account for her whereabouts; he had actually timed the ride home. God help her if there was a traffic jam.

She actually stopped working for us because he believed she was slipping out of his control. When she did leave him, she came back to work part time. That was about three months ago. Thank you, God, for those three months. Every person who met Rhonda loved her. Her kindness, her openness, her spirit, and her friendly nature. The loss for us, her friends, runs deep.

And to your reporter, who reported that every time Al left on a sabbatical she was still there: It wasn't because she didn't want to leave, it was because she was afraid to. Obviously, with good reason.
-- Karen Wildfong, Hudson

A puzzling crime response

Editor: On Tuesday, July 16 at 4:30 a.m. I made a call to the Sheriff's Office regarding a man crawling across our lawn.

He was without a shirt or shoes. He came onto our driveway, where he tried to steal my newspaper. He then pulled himself up on my car door and tried to break in. He had cut his foot, so he had blood all over his hands, which he smeared on the windshield and back windows, as well as other parts of the car. He then tried my second car and got blood on it; there also was blood on my driveway.

He tried to break into our home, smeared blood on the door and tried to open the garage door, leaving a streak of blood across the door and handle.

He then crawled across the street to the corner house, where the garage was open and lights on, with no cars inside.

It was a long time before deputies arrived, and when they did, they went to the corner house belonging to a retiree of the New Port Richey Police Department.

By this time, the guy crawled to another house, and I hollered across the street to tell the deputies where he went.

The deputy allowed him to be taken to the hospital, with no arrest made.

The deputies again went to the retired officer's home, talking and laughing. I called over to the deputy and asked if he were coming to my home as I was the one who called, but he ignored me completely.

I called the Sheriff's Office again, and the dispatcher had the nerve to say she had sent someone to the neighbor's house.

I reminded her I was the one calling; he had nothing to do with it, and I wanted a deputy at my house now.

On my second call, a corporal and sergeant came. They called a crime investigator to take blood samples.

I found them to be very professional.

However, I feel the sheriff needs to give the first two deputies some serious training in their conduct. It is not understandable to me why an arrest was not made for attempted break-in.
-- Herbert W. Browne, New Port Richey

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