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Miss Miami Lakes USA arrested in alleged baseball bat attack

Vanessa Barcelo faces battery charges stemming from incident at party

HIALEAH, Fla. – A woman who was crowned Miss Miami Lakes USA was arrested Wednesday after she attacked a party guest with an aluminum baseball bat, police said.

Vanessa Barcelo, 26, faces charges of aggravated battery, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and battery.

According to a Hialeah police report, Barcelo got into an argument with a guest at a party she was having to promote her business and ordered him to leave.

Police said Barcelo armed herself with a blue Nike baseball bat that she keeps in her living room and pushed him with the bat while he was leaving before swinging it at him, hitting him on his right shoulder.

According to the report, Barcelo and another man attacked the guest while he was on the ground outside.

The victim was taken to a hospital to be treated for his injuries, which included a laceration under his left eye, which was bleeding profusely.

Police said most of the party guests, including Barcelo, were "very intoxicated."

Barcelo is a 2017 contestant in the Miss Florida USA pageant. Last year's pageant was embroiled in controversy after Genesis Davila was stripped of her crown for what the pageant said was a violation of pageant rules.

"We are confident that once all of the facts of what occurred (Wednesday) night come to light, my client will be absolved of any criminal responsibility," attorney Josef Timlichman said. "We intend to fight these charges and prove that Vanessa is innocent of any wrongdoing."

Grant Gravitt, executive producer of the Miss Florida USA pageant, said he spoke to Barcelo after she was released from jail on bond.

"She feels that she'll be exonerated when the truth comes out," Gravitt said.

Gravitt said her status in the pageant could depend on the outcome of her arrest.

"There is certainly an ethics code of conduct, you know, but right now we're just kind of waiting for her day in court," Gravitt said.

About the Author:

Peter Burke returned for a second stint of duty at Local 10 News in February 2014.