Law and order update: Deputies find teens who escaped from Hastings Youth Academy

2 escapees from Hastings Youth Academy captured


Update: Deputies have captured both teens who escaped from Hastings Youth Academy on Monday, according to the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office.

The Sheriff’s Office said authorities received information Monday evening that two people matching the descriptions of the teens were near a house in downtown Hastings. Deputies took one teen into custody at Main and Harris streets Monday night and found the other in Hastings Tuesday morning.

Both teens will face escape charges, the Sheriff’s Office said.

Previous version:

Two teens escaped the Hastings Youth Academy Monday afternoon, the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office said.

A news release said that 18-year-old Jose Alberto Rodriguez and 16-year-old Earl Leon Bostic were last seen in the recreation yard of the facility just before 2 p.m.

The release said Rodriguez, who is from Miami, is a Hispanic male, 5 feet 6 inches tall and 130 pounds. He was in custody on charges of robbery by sudden snatching, grand theft, burglary and trespassing.

Bostic is a black male, 5 feet 5 inches tall and 112 pounds, the release said. Originally from Lakeland, he was in custody on charges of grand theft auto, resisting an officer and violation of probation.

The two were last seen wearing blue jump suits, the release said.

As of press time, they had not been apprehended.

Anyone who sees them is asked to call 911.

Search continues for missing swimmer

The search for a Jacksonville man who went missing while swimming off Porpoise Point Sunday evening resumed early Monday with authorities saying the search is now considered a “recovery” operation.

Eight government vessels from multiple agencies, including one helicopter, began searching the area again for 20-year-old Skyler Christian Taylor at 5:30 a.m., the sheriff’s office said Monday morning.

Deputies originally responded to Porpoise Point nearly 12 hours earlier after receiving reports that two swimmers were in distress. One of those swimmers eventually made it back to shore, but Taylor was last seen about 150 yards from the beach, the sheriff’s office said.

Beach Police Officer named county’s officer of the year

CrimeStoppers of Northeast Florida named a St. Augustine Beach Police officer the St. Johns County officer of the year at a recent awards ceremony.

Corporal Natalie Gillespie was given the award during a May 11 banquet that honored officers from Flagler, Putnam, St. Johns and Volusia counties, a release from Beach Police Chief Robert Hardwick said.

The CrimeStoppers Board selected one officer from each county from a list of 23 nominees.

Gillespie was chosen after a busy year in which she saved the lives of two Beach residents, including one during an ocean rescue.

She has been given two Life Saving Awards for the year and used her automated external defibrillator on three separate occasions, the release said.

“Corporal Gillespie has shown a true passion for our community and the citizens she encounters each day,” Hardwick wrote. “She continues to go above and beyond in her calls for duty. Her accomplishments for the year reflect her effort and dedication to her profession.”