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A reporter with a local media outlet is attempting to connect a prior 2013 disciplinary case involving a deputy with the recent events and her involvement in the Phoebe Johnchuck case.
Recently, a reporter with a local media outlet contacted the HCSO attempting to connect a prior 2013 disciplinary case involving HCSO Deputy Jessica Hallberg-Calebro with the recent events and her involvement in the Phoebe Johnchuck case. However, any attempt to try and connect or link HCSO Deputy Hallberg-Calebro’s actions in these two incidents, or their outcomes, would simply be for the sole purpose of sensationalizing the death of a five year old child at the hands of her own father; and would be grossly irresponsible..
The facts of the prior disciplinary case are as follows. On September 1, 2013, an incident involving Mr. Daniel Baeder occurred on September 1, 2013 at Bobalouie’s Grille & Sports Garden (“Bobalouie’s) which resulted in the death of Mr. Baeder. This incident was captured on a security camera. This matter was criminally investigated to determine if any employees or patrons of Bobalouie’s had committed a crime. Also, due to the involvement of HCSO Deputy Hallberg- Calebro and HCSO Deputy Alicia Dominguez, this incident was administratively investigated by HCSO’s Professional Standards Section. Both investigations were initiated by HCSO without any third-party complaints.
Prior to the deputies arrival, Mr. Baeder had been drinking alcohol and started a confrontation with another patron. A Bobalouie’s employee became involved, and an altercation began. Bobalouie’s personnel and patrons continued the altercation and struggled with Mr. Baeder on the ground for about 12 minutes. Following the struggle, Mr. Baeder laid on the ground for another 13 minutes before deputies arrived. At no time did any employees or patrons in the bar call for medical assistance for Mr. Baeder. This included two medical professionals, a former military medic and an ICU nurse, who were patrons of the bar and checked on Mr. Baeder prior to the deputies arrival.
Based upon information provided to HCSO by a Bobalouie’s bartender, the event was dispatched only as a “disturbance” at 9:47 p.m. due to “two subjects fighting and security has one subject detained”. No request for medical attention was made to HCSO by anyone.
HCSO Deputy Hallberg-Calebro was the first deputy to arrive on scene at 9:59 p.m. HCSO Deputy Dominguez arrived on scene at 10:03 p.m. Upon the deputies arrival, no information was given to them to suggest that Mr. Baeder was in medical distress. Mr. Baeder subsequently showed signs of distress. At 10:07 p.m., within seconds of Mr. Baeder showing signs of distress, HCSO Deputy Dominguez radioed dispatch to send EMS for Mr. Baeder. At 10:09 p.m., HCSO Deputy Dominguez again radioed dispatch to send EMS. EMS arrived at Bobalouie’s at 10:17 p.m. and transported him to a local hospital where he later died.
The Hillsborough County Medical Examiner (“MEO”) advised HCSO that this was a “very bizzare” case and the legal cause of Mr. Baeder’s death could not be determined. This was due to Mr. Baeder’s prior poor health conditions, which included obesity, sleep apnea and an enlarged heart; Mr. Baeder’s high level of intoxication, which was a .21; and the actions of Bobalouie’s employees and patrons who fought with Mr. Baeder for an extended period of time prior to the deputies arriving on scene. Due to the “undetermined cause of death” opinion of the MEO, the criminal investigation was declared inactive and no charges were pursued.
Due to the fact that there was no medical evidence to support that the deputies were “negligent” or “the legal cause” of Mr. Baeder’s death, no action was taken against either deputy. HCSO, however, disciplined HCSO Deputy Hallberg-Calebro for her demeanor and bearing while conducting her investigation. She received a three day suspension without pay.
Also, HCSO reached out to counsel for Mr. Baeder’s estate in an attempt to answer any questions Mr. Baeder’s estate might have about both the criminal and disciplinary investigations, and to resolve any potential civil claims. HCSO and Mr. Baeder’s estate reached an amicable settlement of any potential civil claims in the amount of $162,500 in April of 2014. It should be noted that the statutory cap on damages pursuant to Florida Statutes section 768.28 was $200,000. Therefore, HCSO believed this settlement was in the best financial interest of the taxpayers of Hillsborough County due to the costs associated with extended litigation.