wplg logo

Top 10 stories on Local10.com for 2020

These were the South Florida stories you clicked most this year

It was a busy year of big news stories on Local10.com.
It was a busy year of big news stories on Local10.com. (WPLG)

PEMBROKE PARK, Fla. – The long, winding road that has been 2020 is finally leading to an off-ramp.

As we take a deep breath and prepare for what 2021 will bring, Local10.com is proud of how much critical news and information we’ve been able to bring you over the past 12 months. And we are thankful that so many people decide to spend some of their valuable time on our website every day.

So, we thought we’d share the 10 stories that were the most widely visited from this year on Local10.com. We narrowed the list to just local, South Florida stories.

10. Live coverage of protests after the death of George Floyd

Many of us will never forget the final weekend of May 2020, when South Florida’s streets filled with people sending a powerful message about racial equality.

What started as a peaceful protest in Miami on May 30 turned hectic, with looting leading to Miami-Dade instituting an emergency curfew.

Sky 10 was above the scene and Local 10 reporters were on the ground to document that night, and the following day when a protest in Fort Lauderdale turned violent.

While the images remain striking, it’s notable to track change that in part stems from those demonstrations.


Miami protest takes a turn, police toss tear gas
Miami protest takes a turn, police toss tear gas

9. Baby Andrew goes missing after relatives killed

It was a chilling story from January, a newborn vanishing from a home in Miami-Dade County’s Redlands community after his mother, grandmother and great-grandmother were found shot dead there.

Andrew’s father, Ernesto Caballeiro, was later found in Pasco County, dead from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Baby Andrew was never found.


8. Andrew Gillum involved in suspected crystal meth incident in Miami Beach

Narrowly defeated in the Florida governor’s race in 2018, Andrew Gillum was found intoxicated in a Miami Beach hotel room in March of this year with two men. Police said paramedics needed to revive one of the other men and that a bag of crystal methamphetamine was found in the room.

A month later, photos and videos showing the scene were released by police.

Gillum denied taking methamphetamines but checked into a rehabilitation facility for treatment of alcoholism and depression.

In a September interview, Gillum revealed that he is bisexual and credited therapy with getting him and his wife to a better place.


Video and photos show hotel room where Andrew Gillum found in apparent incoherent state
Video and photos show hotel room where Andrew Gillum found in apparent incoherent state

7. Video shows passengers attack airline workers at Fort Lauderdale airport

Air travel may have been down in 2020, but airport mayhem still found a way.

Video captured the scene in July when three women, allegedly upset about a delayed flight, attacked Spirit Airlines employees outside a boarding gate at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport.

The women, who were supposed to be headed to Philadelphia, did so using “miscellaneous items, such as phones, shoes, full water bottles, metal boarding signs and fast food,” authorities said.

They took a detour to the Broward County Jail before returning home to the city of brotherly love.


3 Philly women arrested after attack at Fort Lauderdale airport
3 Philly women arrested after attack at Fort Lauderdale airport

6. South Florida shuts down because of COVID-19

The coronavirus really got real for a lot of South Floridians when Fort Lauderdale and Miami Beach closed their beaches, and restaurant hours were limited as part of early efforts to slow the spread.

It came at a time in mid-March when many co-eds were making their annual migration to the shores of South Florida for spring break.

“It simply can’t be business as usual in our city,” Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber said. “Our measures are intended to send a clear message that spring break is canceled.”


5. Miami-Dade mother confesses to drowning her son

In a story that got more heartbreaking as the details unfolded, 45-year-old Patricia Ripley ultimately confessed to police that she pushed her 9-year-old son Alejandro into a canal, where the boy who suffered from autism drowned.

That came after Ripley, of West Kendall, falsely told police that her son was abducted by two men.

“He is going to be in a better place,” Patricia Ridley told police during her confession, according to detectives.

Prosecutors said in October that they will pursue the death penalty for Ripley.


4. Evidence suggests state Senate candidates were plants funded by dark money

Election intrigue hit close to home when Local 10′s Glenna Milberg detailed evidence showing that three candidates in Florida Senate district races did no campaigning, no fundraising and made hardly any effort to get votes ― signs they were shill candidates meant to siphon votes from Democratic candidates.

The most notable case was a race in which Ileana Garcia defeated incumbent Jose Javier Rodriguez by just 34 votes. A third-party candidate in that race, Alexis Rodriguez, just so happened to share the last name of the Democratic candidate who was narrowly defeated.

The story garnered national attention in the days after the November election.


Race for Florida State Senate seat leads to questions about mysterious third candidate
Race for Florida State Senate seat leads to questions about mysterious third candidate

3. Cruise ship returns to Port Everglades early after hundreds of passengers fall ill

With fears heightened about the coronavirus overseas, it was a big story when Fort Lauderdale welcomed passengers from a ship stricken with ill passengers and crew at the end of February.

Caribbean Princess reported at least 228 passengers and 17 crew members were suffering from a stomach bug, attributed to norovirus.

This was weeks before ships with confirmed coronavirus patients docked in South Florida as our world as we knew it began to change drastically.


2. Ex-Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale hospitalized; was armed and threatening himself in Fort Lauderdale home

Local 10′s breaking news coverage went national when police were called to the Fort Lauderdale house of former Trump campaign boss Brad Parscale on a Sunday in September.

Parscale’s wife told police that her husband was armed, had access to several guns inside the house and was threatening to kill himself.

Parscale was taken to Broward Health Medical Center under the Baker Act, which allows anyone deemed to be a threat to themselves or others to be detained for 72 hours for psychiatric evaluation.


New video released in incident involving ex Trump campaign advisor Brad Parscale
New video released in incident involving ex Trump campaign advisor Brad Parscale

1. Coronavirus

Of course, no topic got more attention on our website — or anywhere, really — than COVID-19.

The page on Local10.com that is updated with the latest virus numbers in each city — a story that dates back to late March and is still being updated — has had more visits than any other local South Florida story in 2020.

It’s among hundreds and hundreds of stories about the pandemic posted to our website this year, with the latest ongoing coverage of vaccines bringing hope as the new year begins.

With that, here’s to 2021 bringing better news.

On behalf of the staff at Local10.com, we thank you for the time you’ve spent visiting our site and wish you a happy and safe new year.

Want to make the most of our Local10.com coverage? Click here to sign up for free newsletters and breaking news updates, to get the stories you care about most sent straight to your email inbox.

About the Author:

David Selig is the Digital Executive Producer at WPLG, overseeing Local10.com.