A brothel in a fancy home, turtle on I-95, gator in a trash can: 6 of Florida’s bizarre 2021 headlines

When it comes to Florida news, 2021 seemed to be business as usual

ORLANDO, Fla. – Many people hoped 2021 would be the year things got back to normal in this world.

Whether that worked out is debatable, but when it comes to Florida news, it definitely seemed to be business as usual.

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From close encounters with wild animals, to mysterious items washing up on beaches, to bizarre ideas to try and get ahead, weird news in the Sunshine State rarely waivered from the old favorites that make people shake their heads and mutter “oh, Florida!”

We’ve whittled down our exhaustive list of news items from 2021 to six of the most popular and bizarre.

Luxurious Florida home used as brothel

Luxurious Deerwood home used as brothel, Jacksonville police say

A Jacksonville area pool home is situated in a gated country club of multimillion dollar homes with its own golf course. But behind closed doors, this well-kept property was more than just a fancy home – it was a brothel referred online as the “fungeon,” run by a woman who called herself “Madame D.” She was arrested in January for running an illegal adult business and maintaining a home for prostitution.

In a subsequent interview with partner News4Jax, Domino said none of the women living in the house were forced to have sex with anyone, and they did not receive money in exchange for sex.

Domino said she had been building an education website on prostate and sexual health.

“I’m a dominatrix. I’m Madame D. I’m a madame because my interest is in caring and raising women to become leaders. I want to give them the guidance and all the avenues that they need to be able to support themselves,” Domino said.

Young Florida women dressed as grannies to get coronavirus vaccine -- and it may have worked

The rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine was a major milestone for science in 2021. Many people were anxious to get vaccinated – and some were not willing to wait their turn.

In February, as seniors lined up for their chance to get shots, Orange County health officials admitted that two younger women dressed up as older women to try and get the vaccine.

The costumes included glasses, bonnets and gloves. Vaccinators realized the women looked suspicious and flagged them for the sheriff’s office. It may not have been the first time for the women either – they were coming in for their second dose.

What the shell? Woman struck in head by turtle that crashed through windshield on I-95 in Florida

In the pantheon of strange things hitting your car while driving on a highway, a turtle probably tops the list.

Back in April, a 71-year-old woman suffered a gash to her head when a turtle hit the windshield of the car she was riding in on I-95 in Volusia County.

Other than the gash, the woman wasn’t seriously hurt, just a little shell-shocked. And somehow the turtle only suffered a few scratches to its shell. It was released back into the wild.

Florida town accidentally sells municipal water tower

This is a cautionary tale about making sure, when you sell something, the description is absolutely a description is absolutely accurate.

In April, a man bought a building formerly owned by the city of Brooksville for $55,000 with plans to turn it into a gym.

But it turned out that wasn’t all he purchased. Hernando County informed him he had also inadvertently purchased the city’s entire water tower site – including the water tower.

The buyer was only supposed to get part of the property.

The city blamed the goof on a bad legal description.

Fortunately for the city, the buyer transferred the water tower site back to Brooksville.

Crazy video: Florida man captures large alligator with trash can

Florida wildlife officials will say this was a perfect example of what not to do with an alligator – but the internet loved it anyway.

The video from September showed a Lake County man using a recycling bin to catch an alligator at a home.

The man is seen pushing the open trash can on the gator, which backs into the can. The man then turns the can upright and holds the lid down.

The video, which got millions of views, prompted Orange County to respond:

Reminder: Alligators are not recyclable in your blue lid cart. Please call the @MyFWC Nuisance Alligator Hotline at 866-392-4286 for assistance.”

FWC also chided the video, reminding people to call them so a real trapper can be sent.

Metal box mystery: How did this thing get on a Florida beach?

All sorts of things wash up on Florida beaches: bottles with messages in them. Boats. Drugs. But this innocuous-looking metal box caused a stir when it washed up on a Brevard County beach in November.

The object was about 20 feet long.

What is it? Officials’ best guess is it’s a ballast tank from a ship. Now they believe the box was used in offshore dredging.

Since it’s empty it wasn’t a public hazard but moving it would not be easy.

According to staff at Canaveral National Seashore, it’s still out there.


About the Author:

Christie joined the ClickOrlando team in November 2021.