Family of Canadian filmmaker who died during dive files wrongful-death lawsuit

The family of a Canadian filmmaker who died while diving in the Florida Keys earlier this year is suing the dive company and its owner for negligence.

An attorney for the family of Rob Stewart held a news conference Tuesday morning in Coral Gables to announce the wrongful-death lawsuit.

The lawsuit, filed Tuesday in Broward County, claims that Stewart’s death could have been prevented and that the defendants “had a duty to exercise reasonable care for the safety of its passengers.”

Named in the lawsuit are Horizon Dive Adventures, Fort Lauderdale-based Add Helium, its owner, Peter Sotis, and his wife, Claudia Sotis.

The lawsuit alleges that the Delray Beach couple “supervised, planned, ordered or controlled” Stewart’s final dive Jan. 31 at the Queen of Nassau wreck site near Islamorada. He disappeared shortly after resurfacing, and his body was found three days later.

Stewart family attorney Michael Haggard called the incident an “unbelievably preventable tragedy.”

Sotis passed out after getting on the boat while Stewart was still in the water, Stewart’s parents and their attorney said Tuesday.

“In the mass confusion of him passing out on the boat, no one, no one from that boat, from Horizon Divers, from Add Helium, kept an eye on Rob Stewart,” Haggard told reporters.

Stewart’s father said the dive crew lost sight of Stewart while they were tending to Sotis on the boat.

“The self-interest of Peter Sotis is the reason Rob’s dead right now,” Brian Stewart said.

Brian Stewart also criticized Horizon Dive Adventures for not having eyes in the water.

Stewart’s family is seeking damages in excess of $15,000 and a jury trial.

Stewart directed the 2006 documentary “Sharkwater.” He was in the Keys working on the sequel at the time of his death.

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South Florida man arrested after confessing to killing wife, police say

A South Florida man was arrested early Tuesday after he called 911 and confessed to shooting his wife, police said.

Stephen Kruspe, 62, of Lake Worth, faces a charge of first-degree murder. He is accused of fatally shooting his wife, Pamela Kruspe.

According to a Boynton Beach police report, Stephen Kruspe called 911 Monday night and said that he shot his wife at Parkside Inn, an assisted-living facility for people with Alzheimer’s disease.

When police arrived, they found Pamela Kruspe, 61, dead with a gunshot wound to her chest.

Police said her body was behind the facility, and a loaded .45-caliber handgun was found on the back patio railing.

Stephen Kruspe was arrested and confessed to killing his wife, but his confession was redacted in the arrest report, Boynton Beach police spokeswoman Stephanie Slater said.

Police said Pamela Kruspe was a patient at Parkside Inn.

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Woman locked inside vault after attempted jewelry theft foiled

A 46-year-old woman who tried to trick a Boca Raton jewelry store owner so she could walk away with more than $6 million in jewels was arrested after the owner locked her inside the store’s vault room, police said.

Fatima Milanovic was arrested March 18 on charges of organized scheme to defraud and grand theft.

Boca Raton police said Milanovic tried to dupe ECJ Luxe Collection store owner Vladislav “Bobby” Yampolsky into taking a replica package with fake stones in it so that she could walk away with 11 jewels worth $6.77 million and change.

According to a Boca Raton police report, Milanovic went to the Mizner Park store on behalf of a third-party business associate who had spent the past two months negotiating a purchase with Yampolsky via email.

“Bobby stated that from the time Fatima had arrived, her behavior was very suspicious,” the police report said. “She had attempted to distract him on several occasion(s) while the jewelry was on the table.”

Yampolsky said she was nervous and shaky.

“She told us she was very sick,” he told Local 10 News.

After she was shown all the stones, Milanovic asked to put them in a box that she brought and sealed it with industrial tape, the report said.

Yampolsky reluctantly agreed and told her that he would keep the package in the vault until he received the wire transfer, but Milanovic insisted on holding it and put it in her purse, the report said.

After arguing back and forth about who should hold the pricey package, Milanovic pulled a package out of her purse and gave it to Yampolsky, who knew right away that it was a replica, the report said.

Yampolsky locked Milanovic in the vault room while he called the police. The arresting officer wrote in the report that surveillance video from the vault showed Milanovic rip up the pre-made package that was already in her purse while she was locked inside.

“This one takes the cake,” Yampolsky said. “I’m just glad no one got hurt, and I’m glad we got a thief off the streets.”

Milanovic, who doesn’t speak any English, was released on bond.

Yampoksky said the woman is a French national who might be involved in an international crime ring that targets high-end jewelry stores.

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Mother of missing child admits to drinking, making up kidnapping story, police say

A Palm Beach County woman is expected to be arrested after she told police she made up a kidnapping story, to cover up the fact that she’d been drinking and simply couldn’t remember where her daughter was, the sheriff’s office reports…

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Deputies search for missing girls last seen in Lake Worth

Deputies in South Florida are looking for two girls who were last seen Thursday morning in Lake Worth.

Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office Cpl. Eric Davis said Isabel Espinosa-Funez, 12, and Latavia Austin, 13, left from 606 S. E St. and were last seen together about 6 a.m. at a Checkers restaurant near Sixth Avenue South and South Dixie Highway.

Davis said Isabel called a friend Friday, and deputies believe the girls are still in the Lake Worth area.

Isabel was last seen wearing purple pants and a gray jacket. Davis said it isn’t known what Latavia was last seen wearing.

Davis said the girls are believed to be endangered. Anyone who sees the girls is asked to call authorities.

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South Florida woman takes last known photo with officer killed in London attack

A South Florida woman posed for what is believed to be the last photograph of a London police officer before he was killed in a terror attack outside Parliament.

Wellington resident Staci Martin was vacationing with her family in London during Wednesday’s attack, which killed four people and the assailant.

Martin said on Facebook that she was walking past Parliament at 1:52 p.m. when she saw a police officer standing outside.

“I liked his funny hat so I asked him if he would take a picture with me,” she wrote. “He obliged. He was very polite.”

Less than an hour later, he was dead.

A man, identified by police as Khalid Masood, drove his car into crowds on Westminster Bridge before fatally stabbing a police officer on Parliament grounds. Masood was shot dead by police.

The officer killed was identified as Keith Palmer, who had posed for a photo with Martin shortly before the attack.

An American man from Utah, a British retiree and a British school administrator were also killed on the bridge.

More than 50 people of a dozen nationalities were wounded in the attack, 31 of whom required hospital treatment.

Martin and her family were not hurt.

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