Palm Coast Man Charged in Death of Cat by Strangulation

Darren Kuback, a 53-year-old resident of Burbank Drive in Palm Coast, was arrested Tuesday, August 17, after strangling a cat and charged with an animal cruelty crime, according to a report by a sheriff linked to Kuback’s mental health problems.

His medication recently changed, which resulted in him not behaving normally for two weeks, his spouse told authorities. Because of these changes, he should be taken to hospital for examination.

Kuback’s spouse called 911 in the late morning of August 11 to report that his husband had a “mental emergency” according to his arrest report – and that he had killed his cat with his hands and could be violent with law enforcement.

“It’s too late,” Kuback told MPs when they appeared. He stood in his driveway and asked to be taken to the hospital.

His wife told MPs she left the house at 7 a.m. that morning for an out-of-county appointment and last saw the cat at 6 a.m. When she got home shortly after 11 a.m., Kuback was standing behind closed doors, the door was locked. When he came out there was blood on his hands, shirt and cat, which he put on the floor. The cat that his wife said she loved and that he had previously cared for appeared to be dead.

Authorities took Kuback to Halifax Hospital in Daytona Beach. The cat was rushed to Flagler Animal Hospital, where a preliminary investigation revealed that it was the victim of a blunt violent trauma. The cat was then taken to a University of Florida veterinary office that specializes in autopsies. This autopsy was performed on August 13th. “No skull fractures, no broken bones and no previous injuries” were observed, according to the sheriff’s report of the autopsy. With regard to the veterinary pathologist, the report comes to the conclusion: “The cat was in very good condition, no abnormalities or diseases were found during the examination. Because of a slight bleeding in the cat’s neck muscle and failure to find other injuries, “the pathologist would determine a” high probability of strangulation. “

The report contained a gruesome detail: “The main finding at the autopsy was the gross deformation of the eyeballs. Apparently someone tried to remove the cat’s eyeballs. ”The pathologist was certain of one thing: the cat’s death was“ not natural ”.

The MPs had found a “large amount of blood” behind Kuback’s bedroom door, as well as drops and stains of blood on the bedroom carpet and a doorstop. Daytona Beach Police arrested him in the city on Tuesday. He is being held in Volusia Branch Jail on $ 100,000 bond on third degree crime charges.

He had had previous violent episodes of not taking his medication or mixing it with alcohol, including threats to kill his spouse and harm himself, his spouse told MPs. Two years ago he was arrested after an alcohol attack for threatening to kill his spouse with a screwdriver. The charge of the crime was downgraded to an administrative offense and the decision withheld. Last year, authorities were called home again for his erratic behavior in an incident that resulted in charges against an officer and a battery against a law enforcement officer, a crime. A plea deal resulted in a 90-day, two-year suspended sentence – which was shortened last spring. He is still not considered a felon as his decision has been withheld.

“This incident is a textbook example of how people escalate to more serious crimes,” said Sheriff Rick Staly of the cat’s arrest. “This guy needs help and unfortunately it was too late for his pet. This type of behavior could be an early warning sign that something else is going on and is often the starting point for more serious crime. I hope the courts order him to get the help he needs before seriously injuring or killing someone. “

The FCSO would like to remind residents that you are not alone when dealing with a mental crisis or thoughts of suicide! There are numerous resources available for help with mental health problems in Flagler County. For more information, visit http://www.flaglerlifeline.org/local-mental-health-services/ or call 800-273-8255. You can also visit: https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/