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3 arrested in slashing of elderly veteran's throat in northeast Florida

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Investigators arrested three people in South Florida in connection with the attempted murder of an elderly veteran in Northeast Florida.

The investigation began April 8 when someone found 86-year-old Melvin Clark on Jacksonville's Westside, laying in dirt and bleeding profusely. The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office said his throat had been slashed. Crews rushed him to the hospital but they didn't have a name on him at the time.

Investigators said his wife called later that day to say he hadn't come home yet from running errands. She also said she noticed some unusual activity on his credit card. Police sent out a missing persons alert when a detective with the Clay County Sheriff's Office recognized that he was the victim in the hospital.

The next day Miami-Dade Police found Clark's abandoned car.

On April 10, police said investigators received a tip that led to 34-year-old Douglas Cercy and two other potential suspects, 21-year-old Ray Jones and 37-year-old Jennifer Schulte.

The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office said a task force of several agencies including the FDLE responded to a report of all three being at a Greyhound bus station in Boca Roton. But authorities ultimately found Cercy and Jones at a CVS on South Federal Highway, near Linton Boulevard. Authorities took them to Delray Beach to be questioned by investigators from Northeast Florida.

According to the probable cause affidavit, authorities initially held Cercy and Jones on charges of drinking in public. Cercy also had warrants out of Georgia for violation of probation and possession of marijuana.

Clark is from a community called Neptune Beach, which is a beach community east of downtown Jacksonville. Police would not say how the suspects lured him to the other side of town where they robbed him and cut his throat.

The Sheriff's Office said detectives have not been able to speak to Clark due to his injuries.

All 3 are now facing charges of attempted murder, robbery and kidnapping. Thursday's court appearance has been waived by the judge, according to TV reports in Jacksonville.


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