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Welcome to the Polk County Sheriff's Office News Room, where the Public Information Officers (PIO's) post all of the information that they release to the news media. PIO's act as liaisons between news media organizations and the Sheriff's Office. The PIO's routinely release timely and accurate information and Crime Stoppers bulletins, and respond to routine and "breaking news" media inquiries. News releases and Crime Stoppers information can be found on this page.
PCSO's full-time Public Information Officers are Brian Bruchey, Carrie Horstman, and Alicia Manautou. The Public Information Officers can be reached by sending an e-mail collectively at PIOs@polksheriff.org.
The recent news releases sent out by the PIOs can be found here, and archived releases (older than 2017) can be found here.
Nearly 37-years after 29-year old Teresa Lee Scalf was brutally murdered in her Lakeland home, the Polk County Sheriff’s Office investigation can finally be closed following the analysis of DNA which confirmed the identity of her killer.
With assistance from Othram, Inc., a private lab specializing in forensic genetic genealogy in cold case investigations, PCSO Homicide detectives were able to determine that Donald Douglas was responsible for the death of Ms. Scalf. Donald Douglas died of natural causes in 2008 at the age of 54. He was 33-years old at the time of Ms. Scalf’s murder.
Making the connection was made more difficult since Douglas had no criminal history and his body was cremated after he died, therefore his DNA was never able to be obtained by law enforcement and put into a database for comparison.
The attack and murder of Teresa Scalf occurred in the afternoon of Monday, October 27, 1986.