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LCSO arrests man for first degree murder after woman found dead at ‘transient camp’

News Agencies



A man is in custody and faces charges of first degree murder after the Leon County Sheriff’s Office investigated the death of a person at a homeless camp behind a shopping plaza in northwest Tallahassee.

At about 9 p.m. Saturday, LCSO deputies were dispatched to the scene at the 3800 block of N. Monroe “in reference to a deceased person.”

“Upon arrival, deputies determined the area to be a transient camp,” an online update from LCSO read. “When deputies located the deceased individual, it was determined that foul play was involved.”

The case is being investigated by the Violent Crimes Unit as a homicide. LCSO provided no details about the victim and few details about the circumstances that led to the city’s latest homicide.


A knife was recovered at the scene, but an LCSO spokesperson wrote that the cause of death is still under investigation, pending an autopsy.

“After interviewing several witnesses, VCU detectives were able to identify the alleged suspect, 29-year-old Dusty McDonald,” an LCSO spokesperson said. “Deputies located McDonald at a residence in the 1900 block of Crowder Road, where he was taken into custody without incident.”

McDonald was transported to the LCSO office and interviewed before being taken to the Leon County Detention Facility and charged with one count of first degree murder.


Anyone with information about this case or related criminal activity is encouraged to call the Violent Crimes Unit at 850-606-3300 or call Crimestoppers at 850-574-TIPS. All callers to Crime Stoppers can remain anonymous andcould be eligible for a cash reward for information that leads to a felony arrest.

At their Dec. 14 2021 meeting, Leon commissioners OK’d funding to hire two street “Homeless Outreach” deputies to focus on connecting individuals and families with housing and social services, such as mental and substance abuse counseling, veterans programs and act as a liaison to the Big Bend Continuum of Care.


The outreach team receives referrals from the community and can be contacted at 850-606-3300. Homeless outreach deputies and case managers from the Big Bend Continuum of Care will contact the individual to encourage and educate them about local services that are available.

A month later, the county rejected ordinances making homeless camps illegal. Current ordinances prohibit camping except in designated campgrounds on Lake Talquin. The proposed drafts could have prohibited camping or sleeping in certain areas, an issue that has been in federal litigation.

More:Leon County Commission backs away from law on homeless camps, solicitation


It would have included fines for soliciting, urination and defecation. And camping or sleeping in certain areas without a property owner’s permission could have resulted in jail time and a misdemeanor violation.

Commissioners said passing such an ordinance could amount to criminalizing people for being poor. And the sheriff expressed concern to the board about what the ordinance could mean to the increasing population numbers at the local jail, which was nearing maximum capacity at the time.

More:Leon County may set hearing for ordinance to address homeless camps, solicitation


Back story:Leon County moves ahead with local laws to address homeless camps, solicitation

This article originally appeared on Tallahassee Democrat: Leon Sheriff’s office investigates murder at Tallahassee homeless camp

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