OKEECHOBEE — After an anonymous caller reported a fight in a wooded area south of the railroad tracks near 15A on Jan. 2, Okeechobee County Sheriff’s Deputy Devon Satallante was dispatched to the area. When he arrived just after 11 p.m., he made contact with 21-year-old Gage Platt, 23-year-old Emily Williams and a second woman. The report notes as Satallante approached, Platt suddenly ran further into the wooded area in what appeared to be an attempt to hide something.
The three reportedly told officers they were dropped off at the location by a cab driver and were homeless. All denied there had been a fight but instead said they had argued verbally.
A search of the area uncovered a clear plastic bag filled with a green leafy substance and a used pipe. The green leafy substance was tested and tested positive for synthetic cannabinoid. In a backpack, deputies found a handgun which was later found to have been reported stolen out of Martin County and a second baggie filled with more of the green leafy substance. Both women claimed the backpack belonged to Platt, and he was placed in wrist restraints and put in the back of a patrol car.
A black bag was located near the backpack and was found to contain more of the leafy green substance and a white powdery residue which when field tested reportedly proved to be cocaine. Because Williams claimed ownership of a shirt in the bag and no one else claimed ownership of the bag, she was arrested and charged for possession of the illegal substances within the bag.
While Satallante was dealing with the two women, a second deputy requested he unlock his vehicle for a moment and it was unintentionally left unlocked afterward the report notes. A rear passenger window had been left partially down to give Platt air. When Satallante returned to his vehicle, he found it unlocked and Platt gone. He notified dispatch and Martin County of the escaped prisoner and a perimeter was set.
Dispatch notified them that Platt had a felony on his record for grand theft auto in November 2020.
Deputy Brian Cross with K9 Magnum and Deputy Ashley Waskiewicz with K9 Storm were dispatched to the scene to assist with the manhunt.
While they were conducting the search, a call came in to 911 from a woman who said a man wearing hand cuffs had approached her and asked where he could hide. The woman said she pointed him to a vacant house on Southeast 93rd Trail and then called 911. As the team set up a perimeter around the vacant house, they found Platt running into a canal just south of Southeast 93rd Trail, and he was apprehended as he jumped into the water. During his flight, Platt had somehow managed to slip one wrist out of a restraint and complained of pain in that wrist, so EMS was called to the scene to check him for injuries, but he refused services.
Platt was charged with possession of synthetic cannabinoid, possession of a weapon by a convicted felon, possession of drug paraphernalia and petit theft, escape, resisting arrest without violence, trespass of an occupied structure or conveyance and grand theft of a firearm and four counts contempt of court. Bond was set at $27,000. He is being held without bond on the contempt of court charges.
Williams was charged with possession of synthetic cannabinoid and possession of cocaine. Bond was set at $5,000.