Citrus County Sheriff Wraps Up Domestic Violence Month With 14 Arrests

CITRUS COUNTY, FL. – From the break of dawn this morning, law enforcement agencies across the nation took part in a sweep that targeted subjects with outstanding family violence warrants.

In 2019, 355 Law enforcement agencies from over 32 states, including the Citrus County Sheriff’s Office participated in this sweep. Out of over 3,700 attempts, 784 warrants were served on individuals who had outstanding family violence warrants. Due to COVID, this event did not take place in 2020.

This collaborative national law enforcement effort helps raise awareness of family and domestic violence in our communities. It also demonstrates to offenders that they will be held accountable for their actions.

This morning, detectives from our Behavioral Health Unit, Tactical Impact Unit, and Community Crimes Unit began searching for subjects with outstanding warrants across Citrus County. Our office attempted to serve a total of 45 arrest warrants, conducted 8 pre-trial release checks, and 18 writs of bodily attachment for failure to pay child support related to domestic violence.

While investigating the location of domestic violence-related subjects, we arrested numerous other subjects who had open warrants.

“We are blessed to partner with the Florida/Caribbean Regional Fugitive Task Force – U.S. Marshals Service, who arrested Keith Eddy (DOB 1/02/63) in Tampa last week and Charles Rice (DOB 6/20/88) in Jacksonville this past Monday,” said CCSO in an emailed statement.

Eddy was arrested for lewd/lascivious battery on a child under 12 years old and Rice was arrested for felony domestic battery by strangulation. Rice has an extensive criminal record including child abuse, domestic disturbance, numerous domestic battery charges, and numerous burglaries.

By 5 PM today, this enforcement effort resulted in the arrests of fourteen men and women in Citrus County with warrants for an array of charges, many of which were domestic violence-related.

  • Fred Loetscher III, DOB 8/27/74 for Violation of Probation for possession of methamphetamine – Loetscher has an extensive criminal record including maintaining a nuisance drug dwelling, battery, domestic disturbance, and assorted narcotics charges
  • Kyle Lufcy, DOB 4/16/96 for Violation of Pre-trial for domestic violence
  • Damien Shade, DOB 2/01/01 for Violation of Probation for possession of methamphetamine
  • Destiny Taylor, DOB 6/15/96 for Failure to Appear for driving with a suspended license
  • Joanne Gonter, DOB 9/02/65 for a Warrant for domestic battery
  • Jeremy Phillips, DOB 11/13/88 for Violation of Probation for felony battery and grand theft (x2)
  • Melanie Ramos, DOB 11/21/86 for Warrants for possession of methamphetamine, possession of controlled substance, and possession of drug paraphernalia
  • Betty Nava, DOB 9/25/59 for Failure to appear for driving with a suspended license (repeat)
  • Nicholas Belmonte, DOB 6/29/98 for Violation of probation for Felony uttering a forged document (x4)
  • Edward Stuart Jr., DOB 3/04/72 for Writ for failure to pay child support
  • Steven Lamar Sheffield, DOB 12/14/71 for Violation of probation for domestic battery
  • Faith Bergman, DOB 8/06/78 for Judge-issued pick-up order

“As National Domestic Violence Awareness Month comes to an end, our office found it appropriate to participate in the 18th annual National Family Violence Apprehension Day,” said CCSO in a statement. “The purpose of recognizing this month is to raise awareness of domestic violence issues and to connect individuals and organizations working through domestic violence issues. Although our deputies are always diligently looking to serve these outstanding warrants as they are issued, today was a day designated to gather intelligence, chase leads, and track down offenders that have been eluding capture.”

“We are humbled to be part of this event and serve beside our law enforcement brothers and sisters across the nation. We will not sit idly by and allow these people to take advantage of their victims. We must come together as a community every day to safeguard those who are sometimes afraid to use their voice, even for their well-being,” said Sheriff Prendergast. “Through the combined efforts of our Behavioral Health, Tactical Impact, and Community Crimes Units, we have brought justice to many who have not faced the consequences of their actions. Thanks to our dedicated team, Citrus County is even safer this evening than it was this morning.”

Within Florida this year, Citrus County Sheriff’s Office was joined by Hendry County Sheriff’s Office, Miami Dade County Sheriff’s Office, Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office, Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office, and Jacksonville County Sheriff’s Office.

National numbers will be released on Monday, November 1st. As always, we stand ready to assist any victim who needs help.

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