Date: August 28, 2005 "For Immediate Release"
To: News Media
From: Sheriff Grady Judd
Media Contact:

Carrie Rodgers, (863) 534-6217 OR (863) 981-2374 Pager

PCSO Conducting Homicide Investigation and Boating Accident/Drowning

Polk County Sheriff's Office detectives are investigating a homicide that occurred on Saturday, August 27, 2005. At 4:30 p.m. that afternoon at 1038 North Davis Avenue in Lakeland there was an apparent home invasion where the homeowner, 42-year-old Kelvin Powell, was killed, and his wife, 44-year-old Jackie Powell, was injured. Jackie was able to escape and run across the street to a neighbor's house where she called 911. She was taken to Lakeland Regional Medical Center and treated for non life-threatening injuries, where she was admitted for treatment.

Detectives issued a warrant Sunday morning for Tim McElrath, DOB 12/12/68, of 2418 Exchange Avenue in Lakeland, for First Degree Murder and Attempted First Degree Murder, and McElrath turned himself in to the Polk County Jail later that day around 2:30 p.m. The investigation is ongoing.

In an unrelated case, the Polk Sheriff's Marine Unit is conducting an investigation into an apparent drowning/boating accident on the Peace River. Saturday morning at 8:30 a.m., 19-year-old Joshua Harris of Auburndale was working for Tampa Contracting Services, Inc., to clean up the Peace River in the Fort Meade area. He and a coworker, working from a boat, encountered a hornet's nest and were overcome by hornets. They both jumped into the swiftly moving river to escape the hornets. Harris took off his life jacket to submerge himself and never resurfaced.

The area they were in is just north of Fort Meade, off US Hwy 17 down a dirt road named Oponay Trail. Search efforts were suspended around 7:30 p.m. due to rain and began again Sunday morning at 6:00 a.m. with Marine Units and the PCSO dive team. Harris' body floated to the surface around 3:00 p.m. Sunday near the curve in the river just south of where the accident occurred. An autopsy will be conducted to determine the cause of death. The investigation is ongoing.

Distribution: Chief of Staff, Division Commanders, Communications, News Media

A text only version of this release is also available.

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