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Recent unsolved killings still bewilder Brooksville, Spring Hill communities

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Residents in South Brooksville and Spring Hill remain bewildered by the lack of apparent progress in solving a pair of homicides involving two young women who lived there. In February, Isabella Angelina Scavelli, a 17-year-old student at Hernando High School died from the wounds she sustained in a double-shooting incident in Spring Hill. The HCSO has never released details about the second shooting victim.

During a Feb. 14 press conference, Hernando County Sheriff Al Nienhuis announced that “detectives have been working pretty much 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and we’re making some serious progress.”

Last week, HCSO Deputy Public Information Officer (PIO) Michael Terry said that even though the case was a priority, he could disclose nothing new about its progress. “We’re being very methodical,” Terry said. “Different cases evolve differently and when we do make the announcement you’ll see why we’re being so methodical – we’ll have something sooner than later.”

In the meantime, details about HCSO progress on the case involving the Christmas 2021 death of 18-year-old Ariana Ptarcinski in Spring Hill also remain elusive.

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According to Araina’s father Ed Ptarcinski and documents obtained by the Hernando Sun, the young woman and a man identified as then 20-year-old Ramon Durst with whom she had a relationship for about nine months, were in Ariana’s room on Dec. 24, after spending the evening with her family.
Around midnight, after Ed and his wife Judy retired to the master bedroom, he got up to use the restroom, saw the entry door of their bedroom open and Durst holding Ariana by the hair saying, “I did this.”

“Her jugular vein had been severed and she was bleeding out,” he told the Hernando Sun. “I could see her eyes saying ‘Dad help me.’”
When HCSO deputies arrived on the scene, they interviewed the family including Ariana’s 12-year-old sister, who told them that she was in her room when she was awakened by arguing, but could not make out the exact words used in the argument. The family and Durst were taken to the HCSO, interviewed and released.

Later, Ptarcinski claimed that HCSO forensics specialists left critical evidence including Durst’s driver’s license, a pair of knives and a sheet allegedly bearing Durst’s bloody handprint behind when they processed the scene. HCSO Media Relations Coordinator Denise Moloney maintained that the evidence was properly processed, and that the case was in the hands of the State Attorney’s Office (SAO) awaiting its decision about which if any charges should be made in connection with the case and against whom.

That case remains open and pending with the SAO, Michael Terry said. “I don’t have a lot to offer, on that (Ariana Ptarcinski) case,” Terry said last week. “ That’s still with the State Attorney’s Office – We’re still putting all the pieces together, we don’t want to make any mistakes.”
While both cases remain pending, the residents of both communities are eager to learn whatever they can about them.
At least one person familiar with the family is calling Ariana Ptarcinski Spring Hills’ Gabby Petito.

“People are looking for answers,” said Tanya Rivera.

Meanwhile, Brooksville Mayor Blake Bell said that the city has established the Brooksville Ad Hoc Committee on Safety and Crime headed by retired HCSO Deputy Bill Pope, Isabella’s uncle and pastor at Encouraging Word Ministries church in Brooksville. That Committee will study everything from crime trends to traffic patterns around and learn how it might work with non-profit organizations and church groups to prevent similar incidents from happening in the future.

“We are meeting with Deputy Pope soon to roll out a plan from the City of Brooksville in the next few weeks,” Bell said on April 21.

Terry promised to share information about the cases as soon as he can. ‘I promise you, I will give you a heads up when we break the news on the cases,” Terry said.

Isabella Scavelli

Ariana Ptarcinski

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