JUVENILES ARRESTED FOR ANIMAL CRUELTY
A turkey was killed by a juvenile at Deltona Middle School’s agricultural barn Sunday night, and three rabbits were stolen, one of which also died. An investigation of the suspicious activity by Volusia County Sheriff’s deputies led to the charging of two juveniles with animal cruelty and the arrest of one adult for burglary-related crimes.
Deputies initially responded to 142 Landmark Street, Deltona at about 7 p.m. when a citizen reported that there was suspicious activity involving animals screaming. The deputies found Jose Otero, 26 (8/19/85), there skinning a dead turkey. He claimed that some unknown kids had given it to him. However, his story was falsified when deputies found the involved juveniles nearby and also learned that a few animals were missing from the middle school. The real story was that Otero went with three juveniles to Deltona Middle School, 250 Enterprise Road. The boys jumped the fence while Otero stayed outside. Jonathan Brightman, 11 (9/24/00), then used a stick to poke at a turkey in its cage. Next, he released the turkey and chased it around with a hoe until he bludgeoned it to death. Otero then told the boy to give him the turkey.
Once Brightman tossed the carcass to Otero over the fence, he returned to the cages and along with Dominic Ceglarek, 14 (2/5/98), and an 8-year-old boy, took three rabbits. They then all left school property, but as they were walking away, the rabbit Brightman held died. The boys didn’t reveal to deputies how it died, but they said that Brightman threw it in a nearby lake afterwards. They continued to 142 Landmark Street where the boys stored the remaining two rabbits and Otero started cutting up the turkey.
Deputies found the two living rabbits and returned them to the school. Otero was charged with burglary and petty theft and transported to the Volusia County Branch Jail in Daytona Beach. Brightman, an Enterprise Elementary School student, and Ceglarek, a Heritage Middle School student, were both charged with burglary, grand theft and animal cruelty. Both boys were released to relatives. The 8-year-old boy was not charged because deputies believed he had been coerced by the others.