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Ormond Beach Observer Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012 6 years ago

Elderly man struck, killed on U.S. 1


An 85-year-old man was killed along U.S. 1; the county medical examiner confirmed a murder-suicide; and the sheriff arrested 290 in sweep.


Robert Mathews, 85, of Green Cove Springs, was struck by a vehicle Sunday, Nov. 4, and killed along U.S. 1, near Rosemary Street, as he attempted to cross the road.

According to the Florida Highway Patrol, Mathews was standing in the grass median, near the Waffle House with another person, and stepped out into the direct path of Shannon Hicks’ vehicle. Hicks is from St. Augustine.

Highway patrol was unsure why Mathews stepped into the road, and said the crash remains under investigation.

Alcohol was not believed to be a factor for Hicks.

Examiner confirms murder-suicide

The Volusia County Medical Examiner’s Office confirmed the cause of death in a murder-suicide in a home near Ormond Beach.

The Sheriff’s Office found the bodies of Joyce Ryals, 74, and James Ryals, 73, in their home Oct. 30 and, based on evidence at the scene, investigators believed James Ryals killed his wife before killing himself.

After conducting autopsies Oct. 31, the medical examiner determined Joyce Ryals died from multiple gunshot wounds, and James Ryals died from a single gunshot wound.

The Sheriff’s Office said two guns were used in the shooting, and both were recovered in the bathroom along with the bodies. The Sheriff’s Office had originally reported a single gun was found at the scene.

Deputies were dispatched to the home, on the 100 Block of Woodhaven Circle, after a New Jersey relative asked for a well-being check, after she told deputies she hadn’t been able to contact them.

The Sheriff’s Office said deputies arrived at the home at 11:48 p.m and found the two bodies in the bathroom with a note.

Deputies were called to the home Nov. 3, in relation to a dispute between the families of Joyce and James Ryals.

Joyce Ryals’ family members wouldn’t allow James Ryals’ family to remove some items from the home until the remainder of Joyce Ryals’ family had arrived.

According to the report, since the families were unable to come to a peaceful agreement, “the residence was to be sealed until probate was settled in court.”

Sheriff’s Office arrests 290 in felon sweep

The Volusia County Sheriff’s Office carried out a three-week operation aimed at combating violent crime, rounding up wanted felons and checking up on sex offenders to make sure they were complying with their residency and probation requirements.

According to the Sheriff’s Office, 290 arrests were made, including 100 for aggravated assault, 20 for aggravated battery, four for forcible sex offenses and two for firearms-related offenses.

Sheriff’s deputies also made 20 arrests after conducting 305 sex offender checks, and dismantled six six meth labs.

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