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Florida briefly

Published August 17, 2006

Suicide, woman's arrest follow triple slaying

CLEWISTON - A Mississippi woman was charged Wednesday with murdering three people who were found dead a day earlier in their home here. Another suspect killed himself after ramming police vehicles, authorities said.

Ruby Yolanda Parker, 31, of Poplarville, Miss., is charged with three counts of felony capital murder, according to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. Authorities think robbery was the motive. They also think the victims knew the suspect, Richard Harry Harker, 35, of Hawthorne, who committed suicide.

Authorities got a 911 call Tuesday morning from a relative who found the bodies of Joey Glenn Whitaker, 52, Carolyn Cox Whitaker, 53, and Myrtle Lee Cox, 80. It was not immediately clear how they died, pending an autopsy, FDLE spokesman Larry Long said.

Investigators learned that one of the victim's vehicles was missing and had been seen on the Big Cypress Indian Reservation. FDLE agents and reservation police responded and began pursuing it. Harker, the driver, rammed two police patrol cars before coming to a stop and shooting himself in the head, authorities said.

Parker, a passenger in the vehicle, was arrested.

14 Haitians hit Florida; 1 dead, 5 missing

JUPITER - A Haitian migrant was found dead and rescue units searched by air, land and sea Wednesday for up to five others who came ashore in South Florida before the operation was called off, authorities said.

The Border Patrol found two Haitians near Jupiter Island about 2:50 a.m. Wednesday. They said they had come ashore with 12 other people, the Coast Guard said.

Later Wednesday morning, a dead woman was found a half-mile north of the Jupiter Inlet, the Coast Guard said. She was not identified.

The Coast Guard reported seven Haitian migrants were in custody. Rescue crews from several agencies searched in Martin and Palm Beach counties for the five others that were in the group of 14.

Another person in custody likely faces smuggling and drug charges after a boat and more than a dozen pounds of cocaine were discovered.

Haitians who come ashore illegally are usually returned home.


[Last modified August 17, 2006, 02:01:16]

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