New heartbreak for families of PBSO deputies killed on the job six years ago

State Attorney's Office decides not to reopen case

PAHOKEE, Fla. - Despite lingering questions from the families of two fallen Palm Beach County Sheriff's deputies, the State Attorney's office has decided not to reopen the case. Those two deputies were struck killed by a vehicle driven a fellow deputy during an attempt to stop a car thief near Pahokee six years ago. The families of the two fallen PBSO deputies say they still want to know exactly what happened.

In a church in Pahokee is where Reverend Patricia Wallace last saw her son, Jonathan, alive. "He said 'Mom, I'll call you back'. He never called me back," said Rev. Wallace. That was in November of 2007.

Jonathan Wallace and his fellow PBSO Deputy Donta Manuel were killed during an attempt to stop a car thief near Pahokee. The pair was standing outside of their squad car when a third deputy - K9 Corporal Greg Fernandez - struck them at 111 miles per hour.

"We prayed and we prayed and our friends prayed," said Rev. Wallace. She said she leaned on her faith at that time and says she is leaning on God now.

Despite pleas from both the Wallace and Manuel families, the State Attorney's office decided Monday that this case will not be reopened.

"They reviewed what they had that had been submitted by the sheriff's office to the State Attorney's Office," said Rev. Wallace. "Same information; same results."

Wallace says there are still so many unknowns after it was revealed that the sheriff's own lead investigator on the case had originally recommended that criminal charges be filed against Corporal Fernandez. Those recommendations never made it into the final PBSO report for the State Attorney's office to review. Even with that information now, the State Attorney said it did not rise to the level of 'new evidence' - and therefore the case will stay closed.

"Although, I'm so disappointed in the justice system, I'm not disappointed in God," said Rev. Wallace. "I believe that God will have the final answer."

The State Attorney's office said it will review the case again if any other potential evidence arises in the future.

 

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