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    Police: Cocaine found in Noelle Bush's shoe

    By LUCY MORGAN, Times Tallahassee Bureau Chief

    © St. Petersburg Times
    published September 11, 2002

    TALLAHASSEE -- Gov. Jeb Bush's 25-year-old daughter, Noelle, was found with crack cocaine in her shoe Monday night at a drug treatment center in Orlando, police said.

    An anonymous patient at the Drug Free Living Center called police about 8:45 p.m. to report that the staff had caught the governor's daughter with drugs.

    A white rock weighing 0.2 grams tested positive for cocaine, police said. No charges were filed, police said, because such complaints are generally reported by the treatment center directly to the judge who supervises the program.

    Center staff members said they talked with Bush after receiving several complaints from residents about her, the report stated. Employee Julia Elias searched Noelle Bush and "found a small white rocklike substance in Bush's shoe," the report states. A center staff member who had been filling out a statement for police ripped up the document and threw it into a trash can after talking to a supervisor, but the officer retrieved the torn paper and tagged it as evidence, said police spokeswoman Teresa Shipley. Its contents weren't released.

    Noelle Bush was assigned to the program in January after she was arrested on charges of trying to obtain Xanax with a fraudulent prescription.

    The police report said "no further action will be taken in this case," but Circuit Judge Reginald Whitehead, who supervises the drug program, could send her to jail or throw her out of the program when she appears before him Friday.

    This is Noelle Bush's second drug problem since entering the program. Whitehead sent her to jail for three days in July after she was found with a prescription drug.

    If she is tossed out of the program, she would return to Leon County and face the original prescription charge, which is a felony. If she successfully completes the program, the charges would be dropped.

    The governor was advised of the situation Tuesday between a campaign rally at Republican Party headquarters in Tallahassee and a Cabinet meeting.

    "This is a private issue as it relates to my daughter and myself and my wife," Bush said appearing shaken and drawn. "The road to recovery is a rocky one for a lot of people who have this kind of problem."

    In a written statement issued a short time later, Bush said he and his family "love Noelle very much and continue to pray for her continued progress." He asked Floridians "to respect our privacy during this difficult time."

    The governor and his wife, Columba, already were scheduled to travel to Orlando on Tuesday afternoon. They were to spend the night and visit with their daughter. He also had planned to suspend campaign activities today in honor of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

    Noelle Bush's older brother, George P. Bush, accompanied her to court in July and told reporters that the family was trying to use "tough love" to pull her through a painful problem.

    -- Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.

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    From the Times state desk