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Wife of man arrested in connection to cockfighting: ‘We were being set up'

The wife of a Jacksonville man arrested in connection to cockfighting said she believes her family was set up.

Animal Control removed 56 wet, agitated, roosters and hens from their cages in the backyard of Timothy Prosser’s northwest Jacksonville home on Tuesday night.

Prosser was granted bail Wednesday morning.

He’s charged with having animals used for fighting and having equipment used for animal fighting.

“We feed our kids with the eggs. I mean, I love to bake,” said his wife Diane Griffin-Prosser. “We love our animals.”

She said her husband used to be involved with cockfighting, but not anymore.

“Yes, my husband did it years ago,” said Griffin-Prosser. “Long, long time ago.”

She said she believes the spurs, razor blades and steroids investigators said they found at their home were planted.

She said she suspects the original owners of the chickens, who were keeping the birds in their yard, are responsible.

“I feel that we were being set up,” said Griffin-Prosser.

She said her husband agreed to keep the chickens and pens at their home, and they knew they would be used for cockfighting.

She said the chickens' owners stopped using the chickens to cockfight “when my husband told them they couldn’t come back on our property because they owed us $500 for stealing stuff off my property. I feel like that’s why they planted this stuff.”

This is Prosser’s fourth Duval County arrest.

Prosser has also been cited by the city eight times for keeping chickens at a previous home that wasn’t zoned for it. The Duval County Clerk of Courts has no record he ever paid those $2,640 in fines.

The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office has been called out to the Prossers’ home seven times in the past year.

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Animal Control Chief Jim Crosby said officers were originally called out to Prosser’s home on Tuesday night because someone reported two dogs tied up without proper food, water or shelter.

Those officers saw the chickens and other items while they were there.

Animal Control moved Prosser’s chickens to an undisclosed location, where they’re being evaluated by veterinarians.

“There are alterations that fighters make to the birds to take away vulnerable areas and also to enhance their ability, for instance, to make it so they can strap literally knife blades to the back of their legs so they can do more damage and slice up the other animal,” said Crosby.

Crosby said the red frills on top of some of the roosters’ heads have been cut off. He said it’s a typical practice in cockfighting, because it makes it harder for other roosters to grab onto the mutilated birds with their beaks.

Animal control made makeshift perches out of mop handles to make the chickens more comfortable in their new pens.

School board addresses allegations against Clay superintendent

School board chair Johnna McKinnon gave a statement on Wednesday about allegations against Clay Superintendent Charlie Van Zant.

Last week in a letter to board members, former principal Dr.  Susan Sailor accused Van Zant of knowing that several of his high school principals falsely labeled struggling students as having a learning disability to inflate graduation rates.

She also accused him of instructing her and another district employee to write research papers she believed he turned in as homework for his online master’s degree.

A special meeting with school board members was supposed to happen tonight, but the chair canceled it, saying that it goes against policy to review allegations in a public meeting.

“I am canceling tonight’s meeting and directing the assistant superintendent for human resources to conduct an investigation,” said McKinnon.

The school board attorney Dan Sikes said employees who were named in the letter need due process.

“What’s happened here in the bloodlust to go after the superintendent is that innocent people who have due process rights have been injured,” said Sikes.

He also claimed they would go after whoever leaked the letter to the press.

“We’re going to find out whoever released this information in violation of the policy, because they may have their own troubles by violating board policy,” said Sikes.

“I released it. I released this information, and it’s not in violation of board policy because it affects our superintendent, who is, again, an elected official,” said board member Janice Kerekes.

Kerekes admitted she released the letter and said she wants to talk about the investigation at the Aug. 18 regular meeting so that they can decide if an outside agency should investigate.

“We need an outside individual to come in the department of education, or an inspector general to do an unbiased investigation,” said Kerekes.

Students return to First Coast Technical College after investigation

Following an investigation, students at First Coast Technical College started a new school year on Wednesday under new leadership.

The St. Johns County School District revoked the technical college’s charter and took over last month after it investigated what the superintendent called “severe financial concerns.”

Celimar Soto has been planning to pursue a career as a dental assistant for years. But as she begins her first year at First Coast Technical College, the investigation and leadership changes there are weighing heavily on her mind.

“I just hope everything gets cleared up, especially financially, because that wouldn’t be good for us students, either,” said Soto.

St. Johns County Schools superintendent Dr. Joseph Joyner said the district’s investigation revealed First Coast Technical College had withdrawn money from its savings to pay its bills.

“You can only spend what you receive. And in their case, they were overstaffed, spending more than their revenue would allow,” said Joyner.

The superintendent sent a letter to the school’s president, Sandra Fortner, in April, saying the district was investigating.

In June, Fortner resigned.

“It is one of our schools now,” said Joyner.

The district has not cut any jobs at FCTC at this point, but has not filled any vacancies, either.

Joyner said the district also took over human resources, payroll and facilities at the technical college.

Soto said her biggest concern is whether the new leadership will cut her program.

“That’s already something that I have (a) mindset set on. That’s already something that I’m passionate about, because it’s been on my mind for so many years now. I don’t want to start over,” said Soto.

Joyner said he’s not planning any changes to programming or tuition for now.

Nassau County authorities on the lookout for Tennessee kidnapping suspect

The Nassau County Sheriff’s Office is asking people to be on the lookout for a Tennessee man suspected of kidnapping his daughter.

Skyla Lashay Wilson, 2, has been missing since Sunday.

Authorities believe Michael Wilson, 35, took her and could be headed to Fernandina Beach or Orlando.

Wilson may have ties to either of those places. Sheriff Bill Leeper said his deputies are on high alert just in case.

“If you were to see that, you would be extra cautious when you investigate further or stop the individual,” said Leeper. “If you feel like you need to have additional personnel with you, certainly call for help.”

Tennessee authorities said Wilson does not have custody of his daughter and they believe she’s in danger.

Deputies said Wilson picked up the toddler on her birthday last Thursday, but never returned her to her mother.

Wilson was last seen driving a 2014 black Kia Soul.

Skyla’s mother Stephanie Wilson told Action News Jax's CBS affiliate that she and Michael are separated.

She said he should be considered dangerous.

“It’s difficult for me knowing that he gets her, just because I know how he is with kids,” she said. “He’s a really rough person.”

Wilson’s Kia Soul was last seen Friday in Calhoun, Georgia at a truck stop's ATM.

If you have any information about the location of Wilson and his daughter, you’re asked to contact the Bradley County Sheriff’s Office at (423) 728-7337 or the TBI at 1-800-TBI-FIND.

Jacksonville church adds $6,000 to reward for information about 8-year-old's attacker

A Jacksonville church added $6,000 to a reward for any information leading to the arrest of a man who sexually attacked an 8-year-old girl in Arlington a year ago.

Officers and community leaders sought the public's help in identifying the man at a press conference on the year anniversary of the attack.

Jacksonville Sheriff's Office Director Tom Hackney said there have been strides in the case but he wished he had more answers 

Residents at the Eagle Point Apartments said the girl walked out of the woods, covered in blood. The victim ended up in a hospital's intensive care unit.

JSO said there was little to go on because no one witnessed the attack.

Physical evidence did not lead to a suspect in the case, Hackney said.

A Justice Coalition spokesperson said a 16-year-old victim's advocate, the youngest in the state, was instrumental in working with the girl to learn more information about the attack.

Neighbors and businesses in the area also provided all of the information they could, but JSO still has no suspect information.

Crime Stoppers received nine tips about the case and the latest came last August.

"This is not the first or last victim of this individual," First Coast Crime Stoppers Director Wylie Hodges said.

Anyone who has any information about the incident is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 866-845-TIPS. You can remain anonymous and receive a possible reward of up to $9,000.

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JSO Tom Hackney: Not a lot of information was provided at the time. Watch:— ActionNewsJax (@ActionNewsJax) August 10, 2016 JSO Tom Hackney: We are out here today to go back over (the case)— ActionNewsJax (@ActionNewsJax) August 10, 2016 JSO Tom Hackney: None of the evidence or interviews have led us to the suspect.— ActionNewsJax (@ActionNewsJax) August 10, 2016 JSO Tom Hackney and the team is asking for more help in the case involving the 2015 sexual assault of a young girl.— ActionNewsJax (@ActionNewsJax) August 10, 2016 Justice Coalition: "We need to crack this case, and get this person off the street."— ActionNewsJax (@ActionNewsJax) August 10, 2016 First Coast Crime Stoppers: It has received 9 tips on the case when it happened.— ActionNewsJax (@ActionNewsJax) August 10, 2016 First Coast Crime Stoppers said the last tip came in toward the end of August 2015, almost a year ago. Story:— ActionNewsJax (@ActionNewsJax) August 10, 2016 Call First Coast Crime Stoppers at 866-845-TIPS to help with the case involving the 2015 sexual assault of a young girl.— ActionNewsJax (@ActionNewsJax) August 10, 2016 Hackney: The evidence haven't led us to a named suspect at this time.— ActionNewsJax (@ActionNewsJax) August 10, 2016 Hackney: There are results that may become helpful in the case. But not giving away what we have in the case.— ActionNewsJax (@ActionNewsJax) August 10, 2016 First Coast Crime Stoppers: The Impact Church just gave an additional $6,000.— ActionNewsJax (@ActionNewsJax) August 10, 2016

Lawyer for Jacksonville teen accused of killing mom asks for more time to prepare case

A teen accused of killing his mother will get a new hearing in September.

It’s been nearly a year since police believe Mitchell Daughtry murdered his mom in her Arlington home.

On Wednesday, Daughtry’s lawyer asked for more time to prepare his case.

Police say Daughtry stabbed his mother, Pamela Daughtry, before stealing the family car and driving to South Florida where police found him in a parking lot in Sunny Isles Beach near Miami

Police say Daughtry was suicidal and angry. Investigators say they found text messages on Daughtry's phone indicating he may have killed his mother

On Wednesday, the teen appeared in court shackled wearing a blue polo and khaki pants. His lawyer spoke for him and told the judge he still needs to gather more discovery for the case.

Daughtry is expected to be back in court again September 20.

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Mitchell Daughtry is waiting to be called @ActionNewsJax— Bridgette Matter (@bridgetteANjax) August 10, 2016 Daughry is in a blue polo and pants, shackled @ActionNewsJax— Bridgette Matter (@bridgetteANjax) August 10, 2016 Daughtry's attorney and the state are in a sidebar with Judge Whitington @ActionNewsJax— Bridgette Matter (@bridgetteANjax) August 10, 2016 Daughtry lawyer still gathering discovery for the case, it's been passed until Sept 20th for pre-trial @ActionNewsJax— Bridgette Matter (@bridgetteANjax) August 10, 2016

Boil water notice issued for building at Omni Amelia Island Plantation

A boil water notice has been issued for a building at the Omni Amelia Island Plantation.

Nassau County Emergency Management said the notice affects Spyglass building #1 N, units 6537-6547. 

All affected residents have been notified, emergency management said. Affected units received door tag notices.

BOIL WATER NOTICE - Spyglass Building #1 N units 6537-6547 Omni Amelia Island Plantation - affected residents notified #NassauFLEM— NassauEM (@NassauEM) August 10, 2016

Emergency management said the advisory is in effect until satisfactory results are achieved for two consecutive days.

@ActionNewsJax Advisory in effect until satisfactory test results achieved for 2 consecutive days. Affected units received door tag notices.— NassauEM (@NassauEM) August 10, 2016

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Jacksonville woman arrested, tried to rob bank by saying daughter was kidnapped

The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office said it has arrested a woman who attempted to rob a Regions Bank branch at 9300 San Jose Boulevard.

Barbra Crawford Stratton, 68, was arrested Monday on a charge of strong arm robbery - no firearm or weapon, according to a JSO arrest report.

Stratton went into the bank on the afternoon of Aug. 3, went to a teller window "in a soft quiet voice, the suspect stated that her daughter had been kidnapped and needed the bank's funds," the report said.

Stratton was told to leave the bank and she then got into an orange taxi and left.

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Jacksonville bus stop plastered with positive notes

With every stop and every passenger who gets on and off with the Jacksonville Transportation Authority -- there's a discussion about the display at a Southside bus stop.

“I wish I had the time to sit here and read them all. Very nice. I like it. Makes me happy,” rider Joe Spengeman said.

Tiffany Taylor, manager at Tan and Glam, first noticed the sticky notes Monday morning.

“It definitely made me smile. There were a bunch of other people there looking at it as well. Way to pass on that encouragement,” she said.

The messages vary. Some are longer. Some simply say stuff like -- laugh. No matter the length, one thing is for sure. They're much needed in a world that's filled with bad news and tragedy.

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“It is absolutely gorgeous and everywhere you go, something like this should happen,” rider Pete Davis said.

The focal point of the wall is a unicorn. It’s completely made of paper and gives a little hint of who may be behind it. There's even a signature.

Taylor said she hopes it's here to stay and people can learn from it.

“To see something that was positive. It really warmed my heart. It brought a smile to my face."

No one knows who’s behind the display, but local business owners are asking whoever is to speak up.

JTA wrote on Action News Jax's Facebook page about the Post-It notes on Wednesday: "Although it is considered graffiti and littering, we will leave them up for a couple of days in order to give the community a chance to read them. We will monitor the stop and ask customers and others that see a note on the ground to pick it up so the stop stays clean."

JSO to hold press conference about sexual assault of young girl in 2015

Officers plan to hold a press conference about the sexual assault of a young girl in Arlington a year ago.

Jacksonville Sheriff's Office said it will be held Wednesday at 11:30 a.m. near where the attack happened. 

The girl was 8 years old when she was attacked near the Eagle Pointe Apartments on August 10.

JSO's Tom Hackney said the girl was out by herself around 6:40 p.m. when a man took her into the woods and battered her.

Hackney said the girl was very badly beaten during the assault.

Her mom was at a nearby residence, Hackney said.

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