CLAY COUNTY, Fla. – In a summary of its investigation, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement lays out how it followed a cellphone trail to suspended Clay County Sheriff Darryl Daniels.
A 50-page document released by FDLE reveals explicit details on why Daniels is facing criminal charges. Over the weekend, Gov. Ron DeSantis appointed FDLE Agent Matt Walsh as the interim sheriff of the law enforcement agency.
LINK: 50-page FDLE investigation summary (NOTE: Discretion advised. Document contains material some may find graphic.)
On Monday, Walsh addressed the residents of Clay County. He says despite the crisis, it’s “business as usual” for Sheriff’s Office deputies and other employees.
“I’m here to provide them support and help them move on and turn the page,” Walsh said.
The document details interviews that FDLE investigators document, giving insight on why the special prosecutor charged Daniels with a third degree felony of tampering with evidence. According to charging documents, Daniels is accused of either destroying or hiding unspecified cellphone data in an effort to thwart a grand jury or criminal investigation.
In its report, the FDLE writes about a “forensic examination for Sheriff Daniels” CCSO-issued cellphone. The report notes 112 deleted calls, 111 of which were made after the FDLE investigation was started, and 78 deleted text messages. One text messages, the report states, reads: “IT is in my office switching my phone.”
The report adds that internet searches were conducted on the phone on things like “how to retrieve deleted messages” after Daniels told his wife about the affair. It also says “aggravated stalking” was searched after Daniels was accused of trying to have his mistress Cierra Smith arrested in May of 2019 for stalking.
FDLE interviewed the Sheriff’s Office IT manager, who said that on June 4, 2019, Daniels called him directly.
“I’m trying to think of the words he used...” the IT manager tells investigators, according to the report. “...It was something that had to do with ‘there’s stuff on this phone that doesn’t need to see light...‘”
It was enough for the IT manager and his supervisor to put Daniels’ phone under lock and key.
The report notes a chief with the Sheriff’s Office telling investigators about Daniels’ request, saying in part: “...It was kind of concerning why he would just all of a sudden wanna swap it out because of the investigation...”
Daniels is also facing three misdemeanor charges of knowingly giving false information to law enforcement.
When asked about deleting messages from his work phone and trying to have it switched for another, the FDLE report states Daniels said he turned in his phone “to be replaced” because “it was running slow I guess, there was nothing to wipe off of it.” He added “...I wouldn’t have given it directly to IT because I just don’t interact with them like that.”