Jessica De Leon, WPTV

Jessica De Leon


Bradenton, FL, United States

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Past articles by Jessica:

Fences dramatically cut suicide at Tampa Bay's Skyway Bridge

For decades, the Sunshine Skyway Bridge has been one of Tampa Bay’s most iconic landmarks. But the 190 foot-high peak has also drawn hundreds of people wanting to take their own life. → Read More

No one believed her explanations for how her daughter died. A decade later she is facing charges

Even though Dominique Brewer’s explanations for her 4-year-old daughter’s death in Bradenton on Aug. 14, 2009 never added up, the case remained unsolved for about a decade. Brewer is now facing murder charges in her daughter Kelis Rucker’s death. → Read More

Bradenton woman beat her 82-year-old neighbor to death with a lamp and fire poker

A Bradenton woman was sentenced to 15 years in prison followed by probation for beating her neighbor to death with a lamp and fireplace poker in October 2017. → Read More

A truck was parked behind Dunkin’ Donuts for three weeks. Inside, there was a woman’s body

The Manatee County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the death of a woman whose body was found inside a truck behind a Dunkin’ Donuts in Lakewood Ranch. The truck had been there for at least three weeks, and her body was so decomposed that investigators have been unable to identify her. → Read More

Potentially blue-green algae found near Anna Maria Island and in Palma Sola Bay

Potentially toxic blue-green algae has been found near Anna Maria island and in Palma Sola Bay, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection confirmed Monday. Additional testing to determine if any of the toxins the algae is capable of producing are present is still pending. → Read More

Manatee Sheriff’s Office said road rage death was justified. Not so fast, sheriff says

The fatal shooting of a 32-year-old man in Parrish during a road rage incident has not been ruled self-defense, according to Manatee Sheriff Rick Wells. A statement indicating otherwise was provided to media on that Easter Sunday, however. → Read More

He said he got high and smothered baby boy. The evidence showed something much worse

David Earl Vickers was found guilty of second-degree murder and child neglect in the 2017 death of his then-girlfriend’s 17-month-old son, Luca Sholey, in Holmes Beach. → Read More

Whitfield auto repair shop destroyed by 2-alarm fire

A two-alarm fire on Monday afternoon may have completely destroyed a Whitefield auto repair business. → Read More

He shot and killed a 9-year-old Bradenton boy 12 years ago. He awaits a re-sentencing hearing

The Bradenton teen who killed 9-year-old Stacy Williams, now 27, will face a judge again on Thursday for a re-sentencing Williams. Orlando Valenzuela, a SUR-13 member, was sentenced to life in prison for killing Stacy, but was granted a new hearing because of changes in juvenile sentencing guidelines. → Read More

Florida man accused of sexually abusing foster child dies in apparent suicide

A North Port man who was standing trial for allegations that he sexually abused one of his foster children was found dead Thursday morning near his home in an apparent suicide, according to prosecutors. → Read More

Man robbed Lakewood Ranch bank, took deputies on chase, cops say

A 58-year-old man has been arrested after deputies say he robbed a Lakewood Ranch bank, took them on a chase on Interstate 75 before ultimately crashing, according to the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office. → Read More

Well-known Lakewood Ranch realtor’s death was a freak accident, medical examiner says

The investigation into the death of well-known Lakewood Ranch Realtor Michelle Hunt is being closed by the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office after a medical examiner ruled it an accident. → Read More

Between nightclub and Waffle House, motorist was gunned down. Cops look for clues in death

Manatee County sheriff’s detectives hopevideo surveillance footage will help them identify who shot a Bradenton man before he crashed his SUV into the Rooms to Go store at Cortez Road and 14th Street West. → Read More

Bradenton mom didn’t let cops check on baby’s welfare. They have been found safe

Bradenton: A four-month-old baby and his mother has been found safe after the mother went missing when authorities wanted to check on the child’s welfare. → Read More

Doctors say Bradenton man’s explanations inconsistent with fatal trauma

Ten-month-old Tariah White died as a result of blunt force trauma to the back of her head, doctors testified on Thursday. This trauma was not consistent with an accident or any of the four explanations her mother’s boyfriend gave detectives before he was charged with murder. → Read More

Expert says DNA links him to the rape of a little girl. A jury is now deciding his fate

Dominick Hawkins was linked to the clothes a 5-year-old Bradenton girl was wearing on July 15, 2013, when she was kidnapped and raped, an expert testified Thursday. His DNA and the victim’s were also found on the shirt he was seen wearing that day. → Read More

Suspect told cops he bought 5-year-old girl some candy. He denied he then raped her

A jury watched Dominick Hawkins admit to buying a 5-year-old Bradenton girl candy, but deny leaving the store with her or raping in a 2013 recording interview with Manatee sheriff’s detectives. → Read More

One breakdown aside, 11-year-old remains calm as she describes 2013 rape for jurors

An 11-year-old girl described how she was kidnapped and raped nearly six years ago during her testimony in a Bradenton courtroom at the trial of the man charged. → Read More

Accident on Sunshine Skyway causing major traffic headache coming into Manatee County

Commuters driving across the Sunshine Skyway Bridge into Manatee County on Friday afternoon are encountering lengthy delays because of a multi-vehicle accident. → Read More

Kidnap and rape of 5-year-old stunned Bradenton. Six years later, suspect to stand trial

Nearly six years after a Bradenton girl was kidnapped from the mobile home park where she lived and was allegedly raped, the suspect, Dominick Hawkins will stand trial beginning Monday. → Read More