A 57-year-old Salvadoran man who was held at the Otay Mesa Detention Center in California died from COVID-19 on Wednesday. It is the first confirmed death from the disease of an Immigration and Customs Enforcement detainee in an ICE detention center.

Carlos Escobar-Mejia had been in ICE custody since Jan. 10, when he was stopped in a car by the Border Patrol in Chula Vista. Before then, he had been living in the United States for 40 years.

The latest study by non-profit organization Smart Growth America ranks Florida as the most dangerous state to walk in the country.

Over a five-year period, Florida’s Medicaid program overpaid private HMOs an estimated $26 million in monthly premiums for enrollees who had already died, according to a federal audit released Tuesday.

Stethoscope and gavel against a white backdrop.
Wikimedia Commons

The family of a woman who died outside a hospital after she was forcibly removed by police has filed a lawsuit against the hospital, two of its former employees, the City of Blountstown and a former Blountstown Police officer.

As of August first, 22 people have died from lightning strikes in the United States – that’s double the average number of deaths over the past five years. The National Weather Service says three of them were in Florida. Two men were working on rooftops. One was walking. With Florida being the lightning capital of the U.S. we take a look at the possible reasons for the increase in deaths this year, lightning myths – such as rubber tires are not why you’re safe in a car - and how to protect yourself

Daylina Miller/Health News Florida

 When someone dies, a lot of people honor the memory of a loved one with a funeral.

Those who chose a traditional casket burial spend about $7,000 or more. A service that includes a cremation costs about a third of that.

But there’s a growing number of people who want to remember their loved ones long after the funeral ends in a different way.

One Tampa Bay area artist creates a memorial with a non-traditional twist.

Florida Highway Patrol

Motor vehicle crashes are a leading causes of injury and death in the United States. And while wrong-way crashes account for a small percentage of the accidents, more than a dozen people have died in an outbreak of wrong-way driving on Tampa-area roads.

"Unfortunately 2014 has been a very tragic year, especially dealing with the wrong way crashes, and we can't really say why this year we've seen such the number we have,” said Sgt. Steve Gaskins with Florida Highway Patrol.

According to a review of Florida Department of Children and Families documents by the Miami Herald, child deaths are being inaccurately counted. The problem, as reporter Carol Marbin Miller explains, is when the death of a child goes from “verified” -- resulting from neglect and abuse -- to “unverified.” As the Herald reports, cases where DCF had prior contact and documented abuse still aren’t being counted as a result of these switches and delays in investigations

The family of an 18-year-old student with severe autism and a seizure disorder who died on a Miami-Dade County school bus is suing the public school district, the Miami Herald reports.

The state caseworker who visited the home of 2-year-old Tariji Gordon the morning she died has been arrested, the Orlando Sentinel reports.

Jonathan Irizarry, a child welfare worker for a non-profit contractor for the Florida Department of Children and Families, had recorded that the child was awake and doing fine, but then changed his story when questioned by authorities, the Sentinel reports.


After an embarrassing article appeared in The Miami Herald in September, a regional supervisor for the Department of Children and Families ordered workers not to file required incident reports on the deaths of children who were supposed to be safeguarded by DCF, the Herald reports.


  Florida Republican Rep. Jeff Miller, chairman of the U.S. House Veterans Affairs Committee, is sponsoring a bill that would speed up the firing process for senior executives at the VA, the Associated Press  reports. The bill comes amid whistleblower reports of delays in treatment and deaths at VA facilities, including allegations that as many as 40 veterans died while waiting for care at a VA in Phoenix, Ariz.

A desk clerk at a St. Petersburg senior housing facility mistook a dead resident for a mannequin, thinking it was part of an April Fools’ Day prank, the Tampa Bay Times reports. Authorities say the 96-year-old resident jumped 16 stories to her death. The body was moved to the dumpster, and it wasn’t until later in the day that other workers found the body and realized the mistake.  

The death of a patient following a so-called “Brazilian butt lift” was caused by complications resulting from the surgery, according to the autopsy, the Miami Herald reports.

The State Board of Education this week heard a mother explain how standardized testing policies hurt her dying son and his teacher, the Orlando Sentinel reports.

Vodka is our enemy, the Russian proverb goes, so we'll utterly consume it. This embrace of the enemy has a lot to do with the country's abysmal life expectancy rates, with one quarter of Russian men dying before age 55. But when the drinkers start cutting back, death rates drop almost immediately, a study finds.

"High mortality absolutely is caused by hazardous alcohol consumption," says Dr. David Zaridze of the Russian Cancer Research Center of Moscow, who with his colleagues tracked Russian drinking habits for a decade.

A Brevard County woman has died and two other people in the county are in critical condition from the flu. The unidentified woman, who was in her mid-30s, died Sunday at Holmes Regional Medical Center in Melbourne, the Orlando Sentinel reports.

In 1993, Steven Mead was banned from driving for life after he killed a woman while he was driving drunk. But as the Orlando Sentinel reports, DMV records show that didn’t stop him from driving or racking up other violations. Authorities say Mead was driving the car that slammed into a Canadian immigrant on a scooter two years ago.

A father who accidentally left his 6-month-old daughter in his car all day after forgetting to take her to day care won’t face manslaughter charges, the Miami Herald reports (paywall alert).

The state of Florida has the 11th highest rate of drug overdose deaths in the country, the Orlando Sentinel reports, at 16.4 deaths per 100,000. The national report from Trust For America’s Health said most of the overdoses were from prescription drugs, and noted Florida has put in place several strategies that are helping reduce the number of deaths from overdosing on prescription pills. 

The case of Terri Schiavo and the recent story about a Brooksville man’s wish to die after being paralyzed from the neck down in a bicycle accident show how important it is to put your end-of-life wishes in writing, according to an editorial in the

The night before he died, Wyatt Whitebread couldn't stand the thought of going back to the grain bins on the edge of Mount Carroll, Ill.

The mischievous and popular 14-year-old had been excited about his first real job, he told Lisa Jones, the mother of some of his closest friends, as she drove him home from a night out for pizza. But nearly two weeks later he told her he was tired of being sent into massive storage bins clogged with corn.

Courtesy of Keskea Hernandez's family

A 42-year-old real estate agent sent to federal prison for mortgage fraud needed medical attention when her lupus flared up, but her family says the staff ignored her requests for help, the Miami New Times reports.

The Florida Department of Health confirmed the state's 24th case of fungal meningitis, a 56-year-old Marion County man who received a tainted steroid injection in June.

A vivid, moment-by-moment account of the night that hazing ended the life of FAMU drum major Robert Champion, reconstructed from records.