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A Suspicious Death in Bunnell, A Suicide at European Village

| July 21, 2010

European Village, back when it still looked good.

John Jason Uriarte was 24 years old, poor, and living in a trailer with his three young sons — a 6 year old and 3-year-old twins — and a dog in the unincorporated Flagler County sprawl known as Daytona North. He was separated from his wife, Lisa Uriarte, and he had custody of the children, but the two were trying to work things out. He’d complained of skipping heartbeats and having to quit smoking.

The morning of July 18, a Flagler County sheriff’s deputy found Uriarte on a mattress inside the trailer, near the entrance, his hand hanging over the mattress, with a small amount of blood below his nose. He was mostly covered by a blanket. One of the 3-year-old twins was curled up, sleeping, next to his father, on top of the blanket. Uriarte by then had been dead a day, possibly two. It’s not clear why.

A neighbor briefly took care of two children, though the 6-year-old boy had tried that morning to wake up his father, and had himself told the neighbor, Lisa Marie Thomas, that his father was dead. The boy later told a deputy that Uriarte had gone to sleep on July 16 at 7 p.m. and hadn’t woken up since.

Later that morning, according to a sheriff’s report, Uriarte’s mother, Romaine Whalen, showed up at the scene and said she’d last seen her son on July 16 in mid-afternoon, when she argued with him. She complained that the children didn’t have any food in the trailer. Uriarte disagreed. As she told it to deputies, she never went inside, and she left that afternoon. She told deputies that she didn’t know of any health conditions her son was suffering from.

A friend of Uriarte also saw him in his last wakeful hours that July 16. David Hollyfield said that when he’d spoken with his friend that day, Uriarte had trouble putting his thoughts together, as if he had to think long before speaking. But Hollyfield, too, mentioned no known health issues.

The Department of Children and Families briefly took custody of the children and put them in the care of a great grandparent. The cause of Uriarte’s death was still pending on July 22. The medical examiner’s office said a determination “could take up to four months.”

On July 22, the News-Journal’s Julie Murphy reported that sheriff’s deputies responded to Uriarte’s Laurel Avenue address 52 times in the past two years, and that Lisa Uriarte had at one time or another restraining orders against at least five people, including her husband and Wayne Wright, a 31-year-old man arrested in 2008 for aggravated child abuse. The charge was the result of violence against the same child who was found next to Uriarte’s body. That child was diagnosed with brain damage resulting from shaken baby syndrome, Murphy reported.

A sheriff’s deputy was dispatched to European Village, the once-posh but increasingly run-down condominiums on Palm Harbor Parkway, at 11:22 p.m. on July 19 in response to a suicide. He found 40-year-old Caroline Marie Sakran hanging from the shower head in the bathroom of Unit 235C.

“A blue lanyard flat rope was wrapped on the shower head and wrapped around the deceased’s neck,” the deputy reported. “There was a step stool in the shower, the right leg was extended in the shower, the left leg was bent touching the step stool. Pill bottles were located at the base of the shower along with a drinking glass and a beverage can.” There was a crack pipe in the bathroom.

A purse and its contents were scattered across the living room floor, along with other pill bottles, with more pill bottles on the bedroom dresser and by the bed on the floor.

Sakran left no suicide note. Her mother, Nanette Schwartz, had last seen her daughter the previous evening at her house in Ormond Beach, where her daughter visited with her (the daughter’s) boyfriend, who lives in Palm Coast. The boyfriend had dropped her off late the night of the 18th. Sakran’s last recorded words were two text messages to her mother: “I love you,” and “see you around.”

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17 Responses for “A Suspicious Death in Bunnell, A Suicide at European Village”

  1. Frank Torres says:

    Is this article intended to report the unfortunate death of two individuals or to describe the condition of the European Village? You need more in-depth journalism.

  2. Pierre Tristam says:

    Both, Frank. Basic journalism requires that one describes the surroundings of an event, the more so when the event in question is personified by its surroundings, European Village’s endless death throes being what they are (though that place is as much European as I’m Prussian).

  3. Rick G says:

    It’s a sad commentary on both of the two individuals and the Village.

  4. Nicki says:

    This is a horrible article and should be taken down! How would anyone know what happened in the bathroom if it wasn’t leaked by an investigator? Those kind of things should be kept personal as well as naming names! Whoever wrote this should be 100% ashamed of themselves as well as the investigators or spilled this information out to the public! you should take responsibility too for letting such a sensitive article be published.
    Major Fail.

  5. Kevin says:

    Both sad stories for certain. It gives us a basis to consider just how wonderful most of our lives are or, could be with more focused effort in the right direction.

  6. itsMe says:


    The report of the incident is public information. However, most journalists are careful not to run stories of apparent suicides unless of course the suicide has an adverse affect on society.

  7. Dorothea says:

    Itsme, there are good reasons for reporting suicides. How many stories are circulating around Flagler County about accidental deaths or suicides that were rumored to actually be murders? I can think of a number of deaths ruled suicide or accidental that some people still believe were murders. Police investigating deaths will be more diligent if they know that the public will get their information about a reported death by suicide directly from police statements and good investigative reporting. Sloppy police work will not go unnoticed or get buried. (no pun intended).

  8. itsMe says:


    Sloppy police work? That’s outrageous!! How do we stand for such shoddy police work? Why don’t they base their investigations on stories and rumors around Flagler County like everyone else does? It would surely make things a little more interesting instead of waiting for a medical examiners ruling.

  9. Enough says:


  10. Property Owner says:

    A very sad news story. The reporter is very crude and insensitive. Don’t these people, specially in the second report, require privacy? Also, as a property owner, I resent the fact that the reporter is calling the European Village run down. All of Palm Coast, and for that matter, all of Florida & the country is suffering due to the downturn in the economy, specially in real estate and building. There are several very nice residential units at the Village and most of the restaurants, bars, and shops have survived and are trying their best to deliver quality products and services to Palm Coast. Shame on the reporter!

  11. says:

    the writer took a home study course in journalism through Apex School on line,

  12. Flaglerlivesucks says:

    this is the 3rd artical that i have read that is rediculous
    This should be taken down.. the details are more then likely highly upsetting to all of the family and friends of theese people.
    Plus every artical on here is about the journalist opinion, seems like this website just likes trash talking not reporting news

  13. Palm Coaster says:

    Barbara Jeans just went under at the European Village, why live in denial, the place has a horrible reputation and is a sinking ship.

  14. Christain says:

    Please people out of respect for the decease, family, friends and love ones please
    just stop posting!! I know you’re aware of their family maybe reading or hearing about this on a regular basic. Some of the family members live here as well as work throughout Palm Coast and are highly respected in their choosen professional jobs. I know and fully understand it maybe hard to move forward w/ their lives when everytime they go out in public people are staring, pointing and constandly talking about the situation.. These people just can’t fade away and hide under a rock for the rest of their lives, they want to move forward and be left alone. Just like if this may happen to one of your family memebrs you would want the same respect. Please I’m not trying to start an ongoing argument w/ anyone on the site but please can we just drop the situation on all of these online chat sites?

  15. Leslie says:

    I cannot comment on the “suicide” at European Village, but I will comment on John Jason Uriarte’s untimely death. My daughter was his step-sister and while they lived in different states, there was communication between John and my daughter.

    I think it is absolutely absurd for a family to have to wait four months for an autopsy. I guess unless you are of notable lineage, descent or money, then you are doomed to wait an extensive amount of time to get any answers.

    With that said, the children are being taken care of, and are getting support. They are staying with my daughter’s grandfather. As for John’s “estranged” wife, from what my daughter was told by her step-brother, they were not planning on getting back together as Lisa “reported”.

    I hope they get to the bottom of this whole mess. I also hope they take a good strong look at Lisa and her “boyfriend”, the actual person who caused the brain damage in the 3 year old from Shaken Baby Syndrome.

    I find it incredibly sad that the final circumstances were as they were. However, I would suggest to anyone who decides to make ill remarks of the dead, or of their particular circumstances in life economically, socially or otherwise; that jumping to conclusions or lashing out, making accusations of “sloppy police work”, etc. is unfounded. The reporter’s job is to report the story, regardless of how sad, unpleasant or horrific it may be. The police have their hands full! I would challenge any one of the people making those allegations to walk a week in their shoes doing their jobs. Or a better yet suggestion, don’t read the news or watch the news. Then you won’t hear the chronically sad stories.

    I might not be married to John’s step-father anymore, but my heart is extended to both he and John’s mother. My heart also goes out to his children, his siblings as well as his step-siblings. To anyone who knew him and is trying to move forward from his loss. If you have never lost a child in any way, then you have no clue the grief that they are feeling!

    Shame on anyone who lashes out at a police investigation or the press for reporting the occurrence, as it seems those who do are condemning because those individuals didn’t live in a 3 bedroom home with a manicured lawn and have a white collar job. If you cannot say anything nice, stay quiet. That is something your mothers should have taught you in your youth.

  16. Dorothea says:


    My condolences to you and all your family members who were personally affected by the death of John Uriarte, especially his children who, at such a young age, have already encountered so much trauma.

    My reference to sloppy police work was referring to past cases where rumors are still circulating about the cause of death, not to police work in the two particular deaths mentioned in the news report. As for a four month wait for an autopsy, you are right, that is unacceptable.

  17. Laura L says:

    I live two two doors down from where this happened, and very strange things happen, supernatural thing’s, have happened almost every night…things disappear, reappear days later in the same place we had looked, dished move around late at night, unexplained noise’s, growling, my 2 yeah old is always telling me she sees a person and points, but no one is there, and my neighbor just told me he saw me standing iin the hallway one night, and not too far away from me he saw a strange looking woman, he came right up the elevator to see that I WAS THE ONLY PERSON IN THE HALLWAY!!!!……..

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