Week In Review: Crime stories dominate news this week

Don Johnson

Crime stories were at the top of the news in Clay County this week with an elderly couple held captive in Green Cove Springs and a county patrol deputy being arrested, and later fired, for the alleged sexual abuse of a 12-year-old girl.

The story of the couple held captive was taking an interesting turn on Friday with the discovery of potential human remains in a wooded area behind the couple’s house. The suspect charged with tying up the couple, Aubrey Lumpkin, had told deputies he also was involved in burying a body at a nearby property.

The Clay County Sheriff’s Office released the 911 call made Monday night by Lumpkin, who said on the call that he wanted to turn himself in.

To read more details on the 911 call and other information on the story, click here.

Deputy accused of sexual abuse

Clay County Sheriff’s Patrol Deputy Paul S. Mauricio was arrested Wednesday after he confirmed allegations from a 12-year-old girl that he had been sexually abusing her. The abuse has been ongoing, Sheriff Michelle Cook said during a Thursday morning press conference.

The Sheriff’s Office received a call Tuesday at approximately 9:30 p.m. from the victim’s mother who told officers that her daughter had come into her room crying and saying that she was “sick of this happening,” Cook said.

The deputy was interviewed Wednesday morning by the Department of Children and Family’s investigators. He admitted to investigators that the allegations were true and the abuse had been ongoing, Cook said.

To read more of the story, click here.

But not all the stories this week dealt with alleged criminal activity. Middleburg businesses expressed their displeasure with the length of time the roadwork on Blanding Boulevard has taken. The conclusion of the Clay County Agricultural Fair brought a story on how an auction had been set up to help two local teens with their medical bills. The folks with two Clay County theaters explained how they survived the pandemic. And we learned that curbside recycling for Clay County is still in limbo.

Middleburg businesses: Loss of customers because of ongoing roadwork

The Florida Department of Transportation is widening and resurfacing State Road 21 (Blanding Boulevard) from County Road 218 to Black Creek and the project is set to be complete by June 2022.

Signs along the road advise drivers to certain entrances for businesses like McDonald's and the Circle K gas station — however, local businesses along the road are feeling the impact from customers no longer willing to make the drive.

To read more of this article, click here.

County still waiting to revive curbside recycling

In the most recent Waste Management staffing update from March, Clay County was understaffed by 15 employees – resulting in the continued suspension of curbside recycling.

Waste Management staffing shortages are presented to the county on the 16th of each month.

Clay County suspended its curbside recycling services in August 2021 when the county was short 40 residential drivers.

To continue reading this story, click here.

County Fair holds auction to help with teens’ medical bills

This year's annual livestock auction at the Clay County Agricultural Fair did more than showcase the community's farm animals; it raised more than $40,000 to go toward the medical expenses of two local girls, according to the fair's executive director Tasha Hyder.

Sixteen-year-old Hailey Huskey and 14-year-old Halynn Timms were raising animals for the fair's livestock exhibition when they both encountered unexpected medical emergencies, leading to multiple surgeries and an accumulation of hospital bills.

To read more of this story, click here.

2 theaters wouldn’t let pandemic shut them down

The Orange Park Community Theatre and the Clay Theatre in Green Cove Springs tell their stories of how they refused to let the pandemic put them out of business.

Speaking about the early days of the pandemic, “We had no idea what we were in for,” said Dr. Vicki Lowe, president of the Orange Park Community Theatre. The theater is “just now getting back to normal” and at total capacity with a new show, Disney The Little Mermaid Jr, opening later this month.

To read more, click here.

Editor’s Note: Newsbreak has recently opened a news bureau in Clay County. If you have a news tip, contact bureau chief Don Johnson at 813-390-4857 or by email at don.johnson@newsbreak.com.

To keep up to date with Clay County news, download the free Newsbreak app from the app store.

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Aubrey Lumpkin accused of holding elderly couple captive for two days.Photo courtesy of Clay County Sheriff's Office.

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Clay County Sheriff’s Patrol Deputy Paul S. Mauricio was arrested Wednesday.Photo courtesy of Clay County Sheriff's Office.

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Veteran journalist with experience in website and newspaper content as an editor and writer. I have worked as a reporter at newspapers and websites in Florida, California and Arkansas. I am a former executive editor at the Tampa Bay Business Journal and worked for 12 years at The Tampa Tribune as an enterprise editor and business editor. At Patch.com, I produced stories for 24 websites in the Tampa Bay area and also edited content for websites in six states.

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