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September 14, 2023
By Marcy Shortuse

Woman leaves child in car to swim with sharks off Bokeelia, Boca Grande Fire Department marine unit responds

The Boca Grande Fire Department had to make their way all the way to Bokeelia on Monday, Sept. 11 after a call came in regarding a female who had left her young child in the car to go swimming.

The call came in at 10:28 a.m. from a person at Captain Con’s Fish House in Bokeelia. According to reports, the caller said she left the engine running, the A/C on, turned the radio up and jumped in the water nearby, where there was a pier.

Allison Daugherty

It wasn’t until about 20 minutes later that the witness realized there was a small child in the car. Reports show that the child was 2 years old.

Records indicate that while deputies arrived in a short time, there was no marine response until the Boca Grande Fire Department showed up. They made contact with the swimming woman, who told firefighters she was swimming out to a boat that was a considerable distance from shore, training for a triathlon. When firefighters told her that people on land were concerned for her and her child who was left in the car, she agreed to come aboard their boat. She was taken to land and intercepted by Lee County deputies, who charged her with one count of child neglect.

The woman was 41-year-old Allison Daugherty, who claims she is a homeless resident of Fort Myers. 

Reports state that after Daugherty was taken into custody, a conversation with witnesses revealed that when she went in the water, fishermen who were on the pier told her to be careful of their lines, as well as sharks. She reportedly said she “wanted to get hooked” and “meet [the] sharks.”

It was determined that Daugherty left the child unattended in the vehicle for approximately 44 minutes.

UPDATE: As of press time on Thursday afternoon, a call came in reporting the same female, same place, same MOS. More on this next week.

Look out for jury duty scam calls again

The Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office has announced that they are receiving scam calls about jury duty again. Here is their message:

We are again receiving notifications of an ongoing scam regarding missed jury duty. These calls are coming from someone claiming to be “Sgt. Terry” and demanding payment of a $1500 fine. The Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office will not call you to discuss jury duty, nor will we demand payments of any kind over the phone.


Never send money to anyone unless you are absolutely certain of who it is. When in doubt, hang up and call whatever agency/company they are claiming to represent, using the phone number on their official website.