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Deadly stabbing investigation completed by sheriff’s office

Posted on January 23, 2017 by Mat Pellegrino

The Santa Rosa County Sheriff’s Office has closed their investigation regarding the stabbing death of Navarre teen Daniel “Jeb” Bubanas and have submitted their findings to the local State Attorney’s Office to determine if charges can be brought up in the case.
The announcement regarding the case closure came on Monday, a little over a month after the deadly stabbing that occurred on December 16 during a bonfire in Midway where several minors and adults gathered to drink and party.
Despite closing the investigation, the local sheriff’s office is not able to release any additional details regarding the incident, including the name of the individual who allegedly stabbed Bubanas during what the sheriff’s office deemed an altercation.
Two other individuals were also stabbed during the party. One teen, Cole Tolbert, 17, was stabbed and transported to an area hospital where he underwent emergency surgery for his wounds. Another stabbing victim was located at Tiger Point park after the incident and was treated on scene by EMS and released after being questioned by law enforcement.
According to SRCSO Public Information Officer Sgt. Rich Aloy, it is unknown at this time if any individuals will be charged, and that it could take the State Attorney’s Office several weeks to determine culpability once they complete their review of the investigation.
Aloy said the SRCSO partnered with the State Attorney’s Office after getting involved with the case since the investigation was so extensive.
“Due to the length and complexity of this investigation, we partnered with the SAO since the beginning of this case,” Aloy said. “Due to the facts of this case, the SAO is expecting that it will take at least several weeks for them to complete their review.”
There have only been minor pockets of information released to the local media regarding the investigation, including a highly redacted incident report that outlines nearly 2 dozen interviews the department conducted during the weeks following the deadly stabbing.
Of those two dozen interviews outlined in the incident report, law enforcement questioned children who were present at the bonfire who were as young as 17 and adults who were as old as 47.
According to the heavily redacted SRCSO offense report, law enforcement was dispatched to an area known as “the power lines” in Midway near the intersection of Bergren Road and River Birch Road in regards to a stabbing at around 10:37 p.m. on Dec. 16.
According to the report, “the power lines” is an area in Midway that teenagers and adults often go to on the weekends to party or drink.
Upon arriving on scene, the report indicated that numerous people fled from the area, and law enforcement officials quickly secured a perimeter around the popular party spot in an effort to keep people on scene.
After learning that individuals had been stabbed, a staging area was set up at Liberty Church on Gulf Breeze Parkway where deputies brought in counselors and also questioned people who witnessed what happened.
When deputies arrived on scene, they were flagged down by an individual in a pickup truck who stated that one of the stabbing victims, later identified as Bubanas, was in the back of his pickup truck.
Bubanas was noted as having a stab wound to his sternum, and upon arrival by EMS, Bubanas was in cardiac arrest. He was later transported to Gulf Breeze Hospital where he passed away at 11:20 p.m.
The incident report indicated that numerous people were trying to stop Bubanas from bleeding out and deputies assisted in tending to the man’s wounds before EMS arrived on scene.
Tolbert was located in one of the numerous pickup trucks on scene and deputies were able to get him into an ambulance to be transported to a local hospital.
Once a perimeter was set up, deputies started conducting road blocks on the property to keep individuals from leaving the crime scene. One witness, who was stopped and secured in a patrol vehicle, stated that Bubanas and several other individuals who were gathered there that night started fighting earlier in the evening. The individual stated that Bubanas was fighting a “country boy” earlier in the night and that shortly after the fight, the witness heard people crying and walked over to see Bubanas on the ground with a stab wound.
The witness stated that after hearing Bubanas had been stabbed, he attempted to flee the scene.
The witness was not able to identify the man that stabbed Bubanas, but stated he had long blonde hair and weighed approximately 160 pounds. The SRSO stated they were able to locate that individual, who they have yet to identify, and that he was questioned about the stabbing.
Many of the individuals who were stopped by deputy road blocks were instructed to go to Liberty Church to be questioned. According to the incident report, many individuals told deputies they would go to the church to give a statement, but instead, they went home.
The extensive investigation hit several snags along the way due to the fact that many people who were on scene were refusing to give statements.
“We know there were many individuals at this incident,” Aloy said.
After several days, the sheriff’s office released a statement urging individuals to come forward to give a statement, even allowing them to remain anonymous through CrimeStoppers.
Bubanas recently got engaged and started work as an electrician. Many knew Bubanas as an avid fisherman who frequented the Navarre Beach Pier during the week. The 18-year-old left behind a 3-month-old child.
Since the incident, the community has rallied together to help the Bubanas family by raising over $15,500 alone on a GofundMe page.
If you would like to make a contribution to the Bubanas family, visit www.gofundme.com/34fchfk.