TwitterFacebookPinterestGoogle+
  • FLORIDA | TAMPA, Fla. (FNN SPORTS) - Buccaneers Fall Short Against Redskins. (Photo by Willie David / Florida National News)
    FLORIDA | TAMPA, Fla. (FNN SPORTS) - Buccaneers Fall Short Against Redskins. (Photo by Willie David / Florida National News)

DNA, fingerprint match helped lead FBI to mail bomb suspect

WASHINGTON (AP) — A Florida man with a criminal history and a fervor for President Donald Trump sent at least 13 mail bombs to prominent Democrats, Justice Department officials said, crediting DNA, a fingerprint match and misspellings for the key break in a case that spread fear of election-season violence with little precedent in the U.S.

Cesar Sayoc, 56, of Aventura, Florida, faces five federal charges in connection with a mail bomb plot that spurred a weeklong, coast-to-coast investigation that continued even after he was taken into custody Friday as investigators scrutinized additional suspicious packages intended for Democrats.

Sayoc will make his first court appearance next week, where additional details may be revealed about a motive. In the meantime, Attorney General Jeff Sessions suggested that politics may have played a role and noted that Sayoc appeared to be a “partisan.” Those who saw him in the Florida neighborhood, unmistakable in a white van plastered with Trump’s image and political stickers, described him as unsettling and troubled.

Sayoc’s social media profiles portray a deeply disaffected conservative who trafficked in online conspiracy theories, parody accounts and name-calling. He called a Florida school shooting survivor a “fake phony,” peddled theories about George Soros, the billionaire political donor targeted this week by a package bomb, and denigrated other Democrats who were later the intended recipients of explosive packages.

The 56-year-old Florida man charged in the nationwide mail-bomb scare targeting prominent Democrats was taken into custody Friday (Oct. 26)

An amateur body builder and former stripper who once spent time on probation for a bomb threat charge, Sayoc first registered as a Republican voter just ahead of the March 2016 Republican primary and quickly identified himself as a proud Trump supporter, tweeting and posting on Facebook videos that appear to show him at Trump rallies.

He appeared to be living in his van, showering on the beach or at a local fitness center.

Sayoc’s arrest Friday was a major breakthrough in the nationwide manhunt following the discovery of the explosive devices — none of which detonated — addressed to prominent Democrats and other frequent targets of conservative ire, including former President Barack Obama, former Vice President Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton and the cable network CNN. On Friday, new packages addressed to New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker and former National Intelligence Director James Clapper were intercepted — both similar to those containing pipe bombs discovered earlier in the week. Investigators in California scrutinized a package sent to Democratic Sen. Kamala Harris, her office said, and one sent to Tom Steyer, a billionaire businessman who has campaigned for months for Trump’s impeachment.

The mail bombs, coming shortly before major midterm elections, sparked a heated national conversation about the hard-edged political climate and Trump’s role in fanning the flames. The president has branded the media the “enemy of the people” and hurled harsh, personal insults at others targeted in the plot.

Shortly after Sayoc was detained, Trump declared that “we must never allow political violence to take root in America” and that Americans “must unify.”

Speaking later to reporters Friday evening before leaving for a political rally in North Carolina, Trump said he knows Sayoc supported him but that he himself “bears no blame.” Hours earlier Trump had complained via tweet that “this ‘bomb’ stuff” was taking attention away from the upcoming election and that critics were wrongly blaming him.

FBI and police officials worked swiftly to untangle clues this week as the packages mounted, sometimes several in the same day.

The big break came when a fingerprint found on one of the packages, intended for California Rep. Maxine Waters, matched a fingerprint of Sayoc’s on file with Florida authorities. A DNA sample from a device intended for Obama similarly matched the suspect’s DNA, the FBI said.

An additional clue: Misspellings from his online posts matched mistakes found on the packages, according to an 11-page criminal complaint that included the formal charges of threatening former presidents and transporting explosives across state lines.

Some packages included photographs of the intended recipients marked with a red “x,” the FBI said. The packages contained timers and batteries, but were not rigged to explode upon opening. Officials were uncertain whether the devices were poorly designed or never intended to cause physical harm.

Authorities noted that they included “energetic material.” A footnote to the charging document said such explosive material “gives off heat and energy through a rapid exothermic reaction when initiated by heat, shock or friction.”

“These are not hoax devices,” FBI Director Chris Wray said.

Sayoc was arrested near an auto parts store in Plantation, Florida, north of Miami. Across the street, Thomas Fiori, a former federal law enforcement officer, said he saw about 50 armed officers swarm a man standing outside a white van. They ordered him to the ground, Fiori said, and he did not resist.

“He had that look of, ‘I’m done, I surrender,’” Fiori said.

Sayoc appears to have been living on the margins, regularly running into trouble with the law and struggling to make ends meet. He was repeatedly arrested for theft in the 1990s, faced felony charges of possession of anabolic steroids in 2004 and was convicted of grand theft in 2014. In 2002, he served a year of probation for a felony charge of threatening to throw or place a bomb.

His lawyer in that case said the charge stemmed from a heated conversation with a Florida utility representative.

Ronald Lowy, a Miami attorney, said Sayoc showed no ability at the time to back up his threat with any bomb-making expertise.

Sayoc had $4,175 in personal property and more than $21,000 in debts when filed for bankruptcy in 2012. “Debtor lives with mother, owns no furniture,” his lawyer indicated in a property list.

He had been an amateur body builder. More recently he was seen at an LA Fitness in Aventura, regularly showering at the gym but not working out, said Edgar Lopez, 48, a therapist who works out at the gym.

Marc Weiss saw Sayoc nearly every morning at 6 a.m. for the last four or five months.

“I’ve seen the guy maybe 80 times and I never said a word to him because I had a feeling he was a little off,” said Weiss, a 56-year-old building superintendent who has lived in the neighborhood for eight years. “This guy had an air about him that was unsettling.”

Sayoc’s political awakening appears to have coincided with Trump’s rise. He registered to vote in Florida in March 2016 and has voted early since, records show.

Documents released Friday by the Broward County Sheriff’s Office show Sayoc reported in May 2015 that more than $40,000 in goods were stolen from his van and an attached trailer, including 11 pieces of Donald Trump-brand clothing valued at $7,150. Specifics are not included, but Trump has a line of suits, shirts, ties and accessories.

The report shows detectives were never able to confirm whether the theft actually happened, and no arrests were made.

Most of those targeted this week were past or present U.S. officials, but packages also were sent to actor Robert De Niro and Soros. The bombs have been sent across the country — from New York, Delaware and Washington, D.C., to Florida and California, where Waters was targeted. They bore the return address of Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the former chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

POLITICS & POWER NEWS

National Politics

An error occured during creating the thumbnail.

Governor Scott Appoints Ten to the Circuit and County Courts

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Today, Governor Rick Scott announced ten appointments to multiple Circuit and County Courts. Alexander Bokor is appointed…

An error occured during creating the thumbnail.

Rep. Soto: House Democrats Introduce Legislation to Protect Native American Voting Rights

Washington, D.C. – This week, Congressman Darren Soto joined Rep. Ben Ray Luján (D-NM) to introduce the Native American Voting…

An error occured during creating the thumbnail.

The Latest: Judge orders White House to return Acosta pass

WASHINGTON (AP) - CNN has asked U.S. District Judge Timothy Kelly, who was appointed to…

An error occured during creating the thumbnail.

U.S. Congressman Darren Soto Statement on Court’s Decision Jeopardizing Hispanic Voters

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Congressman Darren Soto, Congressional Hispanic Caucus Chair of the Civil and Voting…

STATE & LOCAL POLITICS

An error occured during creating the thumbnail.

[OPINION] Orange County Republicans Must Adapt, or They'll Lose Every Time!

ORLANDO, Fla. (FNN NEWS) - In the 2018 midterm elections almost none of the Orange…

An error occured during creating the thumbnail.

Gillum for Governor Campaign on Counting Every Vote

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Today, Gillum for Governor communications director Johanna Cervone made the following statement on…

An error occured during creating the thumbnail.

Governor-Elect Ron DeSantis Announces Transition Team Chairs

TALLAHASSEE, FL- Today, Governor-Elect Ron DeSantis announced four Florida leaders to spearhead transition for the new…

An error occured during creating the thumbnail.

Supervisor Daisy Morales Re-Elected with 256,116 Supermajority of Orange County Votes

ORLANDO, Fla. (FNN NEWS) - On election night, Orange County voters delivered a landslide victory…

SPORTS NEWS

  • UCF running back Greg McCrae (#30) makes a run against the Navy Midshipmen at Spectrum Stadium Saturday. Photo: Brandon Connelly/Florida National News.
    UCF Knights Throttle Navy Midshipmen on Homecoming Weekend. Photo: Brandon Connelly/Florida National News.

MORE SPORTS NEWS

An error occured during creating the thumbnail.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers promote safety Godwin Igwebuike

TAMPA, Fla. - The Tampa Bay Buccaneers announced today that the team has promoted safety Godwin…

An error occured during creating the thumbnail.

Hoops for Troops: Orlando Magic and Players Aaron Gordon and Jarell Martin Honor Members of the Military

ORLANDO (By Josh Cohen, OrlandoMagic.com) - Very few players, if any, are more locked in before games…

An error occured during creating the thumbnail.

Orlando's Big Fourth Quarter Sparks 111-106 Victory at Home

ORLANDO, Fla. (FNN SPORTS) - After Markelle Fultz hit a buzzer-beating layup to put the…

An error occured during creating the thumbnail.

Nearly 1,200 Athletes Competed in Special Olympics Florida's State Fall Classic

ORLANDO, Fla. (FNN SPORTS) - Special Olympics Florida athletes, coaches, volunteers and fans descended on…

An error occured during creating the thumbnail.

Buccaneers Fall Short Against Redskins 16-3

TAMPA BAY, Fla. (FNN SPORTS) - The Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who are currently fourth in…

An error occured during creating the thumbnail.

UCF Knights Throttle Navy Midshipmen on Homecoming Weekend

ORLANDO, Fla. (FNN SPORTS) - The Knights showed the Navy Midshipmen why the Knights are…

BUSINESS NEWS

MORE BUSINESS NEWS

An error occured during creating the thumbnail.

Trade War Escalates as China Announces Tariffs on US Imports

BEIJING (AP) — The U.S.-China trade war escalated further Tuesday, with China announcing retaliatory tax…

An error occured during creating the thumbnail.

Orange County Property Appraiser Rick Singh Appeals Decision On Disney Property Valuation

Orlando, FL – Orange County Property Appraiser (OCPA), Rick Singh, today announced that an appeal…

An error occured during creating the thumbnail.

Governor Scott Orders Flags at Half-Staff in Remembrance of 9/11

TALLAHASSEE - In honor and remembrance of those who tragically lost their lives in the…

An error occured during creating the thumbnail.

ESSENCE Debuts Lebron James’ Captivating Social Media Campaign “The Strongest” Celebrating 16 Strong Black Women

NEW YORK, NY (FNN NEWS) — Source: ESSENCE // ESSENCE, the leading media, technology and…

An error occured during creating the thumbnail.

Amway Founder and Orlando Magic Owner Richard DeVos Dies at 92

DETROIT (AP) — Billionaire Richard DeVos, co-founder of direct-selling giant Amway, owner of the Orlando…

An error occured during creating the thumbnail.

Nike Unveils Kaepernick Ad to Air During NFL Season Opener

Nike has unveiled its first “Just Do It” ad narrated by Colin Kaepernick, a spot…

ENTERTAINMENT NEWS

MORE ENTERTAINMENT NEWS

An error occured during creating the thumbnail.

AG Pam Bondi: Andrew Gillum Must Denounce Rapper T.I.’s Video

TALLAHASSEE, FL – The rapper T.I. recently unveiled an offensive music video which depicted a demeaning and disgusting…

An error occured during creating the thumbnail.

TV Review: A Roseanne Barr-less ‘The Conners’ is a triumph

NEW YORK (AP) — Can there be a “Roseanne” without Roseanne? The answer is yes,…

An error occured during creating the thumbnail.

New Kids On The Block Announce The Mixtape Tour With Very Special Guests Salt-N-Pepa, Tiffany, Debbie Gibson And Naughty By Nature

NEW YORK  -- Today New Kids On The Block, the multiplatinum selling pop super-group, unveiled an epic lineup for…

An error occured during creating the thumbnail.

Country Music Icon Martina McBride Entertains From The Kitchen On New Food Network Series Martina's Table

NEW YORK, Food Network -- As a music megastar, Martina McBride has entertained fans with her songs for years,…

An error occured during creating the thumbnail.
An error occured during creating the thumbnail.

Academy Presents Careers In Film Summit In Los Angeles, London, Atlanta and New York 

LOS ANGELES, CA – The Academy will present its 4th annual Careers in Film Summit on Saturday,…

LIFESTYLE NEWS

MORE LIFESTYLE NEWS

An error occured during creating the thumbnail.

Nearly 1,200 Athletes Competed in Special Olympics Florida's State Fall Classic

ORLANDO, Fla. (FNN SPORTS) - Special Olympics Florida athletes, coaches, volunteers and fans descended on…

An error occured during creating the thumbnail.

Athletes, Coaches, Volunteers Made Celebrities at Special Olympics Florida Champions' Gala

ORLANDO, Fla. (FNN NEWS) – The red carpet rolled out for Special Olympics Florida’s Annual Champion’s…

An error occured during creating the thumbnail.

Onward to Greatness: Special Olympics Florida President & CEO Sherry Wheelock Envisions Greater Growth, Awareness for Athletes

ORLANDO, Fla. (FNN NEWS) - Special Olympics Florida will host its annual Champions' Gala at…

An error occured during creating the thumbnail.

Orange County Nursing Home Faces Legal Action, State Investigations After Elected Official's 911 Call

ORLANDO, Fla. (FNN NEWS) – Nursing home negligence of residents has become a top priority…

An error occured during creating the thumbnail.

Miss New York Nia Imani Franklin Crowned Miss America 2019

ATLANTIC CITY, NJ (FNN NEWS) – Miss New York Nia Imani Franklin was crowned Miss…

An error occured during creating the thumbnail.

Walt Disney World Resort to Host Kickoff of ABC’s ‘American Idol’ Nationwide Bus Tour Auditions

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – Walt Disney World Resort in Florida is set to host…