Meter Reader Who Found Caylee Anthony's Remains Fired
Roy Kronk is the Orange County meter reader who found Caylee Anthony's bones in the woods
Roy Kronk, Orange County utilities worker, makes a prepared statement Dec. 19 about being the person last week who found the remains of Caylee Marie Anthony. Kronk had alerted law enforcement three times in August about a suspicious grey bag on the side on the road. (RED HUBER, ORLANDO SENTINEL / December 19, 2008)
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Kronk was terminated late Tuesday after failing to attend a disciplinary hearing for excessive absenteeism following an injury at work. Records show he used up all his sick time and medical leave.
"It is my understanding that Mr. Kronk injured his neck and shoulder while lifting and placing boxes in an Orange County Utilities warehouse,'' David Evans, Kronk's attorney, wrote in an email to the media.
"Roy Kronk was scheduled to attend a pre-determination hearing yesterday to address issues pertaining to his employment with the County. He failed to show for the hearing, and a decision has been issued terminating his employment effective immediately," the county wrote Kronk's lawyer. "Therefore, the County shall not pay any legal fees associated with representing Mr. Kronk that are incurred from this point forward."
The letter was written by Assistant County Attorney Peter A. Lichtman to Evans, who had been paid by the county to represent Kronk after the skeletal remains were found in December.
Evans responded to his client's dismissal by writing on Thursday, "The termination of Mr. Kronk relates to a difference of opinion between Mr. Kronk and Orange County regarding a workplace injury sustained by Mr. Kronk in the course of his job duties at an Orange County Utilities warehouse. This dispute arose because Mr. Kronk's management directed him to resume work duties after his injury, and Mr. Kronk and his health care providers did not consider it to be safe or medically appropriate to resume those duties at this time. "
Kronk became a nationally recognized figure on Dec. 11, when he discovered the skull of Caylee Anthony who had been missing for months since her mother Casey reported her absence in July.
Kronk found the skeletal remains in the samea wooded lot he previously had searched near the Anthony home in the Chickasaw Oaks neighborhood in August. At the time, he was assigned to check utility meters for the county.
His discovery was a major development in the case that has attracted national and international attention..
The meter reader's successful sleuthing also embarrassed the Orange County Sheriff's Office which had searched the area and failed to find anything. A deputy who responded to a 911 call made by Kronk in August about suspicious-looking items in the wooded lot was fired for failing to adequately investigate the information.
Sudden fame followed the discovery.
Orange County hired Evans of the Mateer Harbert law firm to represent Kronk believing he would be overwhelmed by media requests for interviews. The county set a $10,000 limit on Evans' bills, which had to be raised $2,500 more even after Evans discounted his hourly rate about $100 to $225 an hour, records show.
Until then, Kronk had been a low-profile, $10.60-an- hour county worker. His discovery landed him on Good Morning America TV show in January. He later was given $5,000 by Orlando lawyer Mark NeJame, money NeJame had earned representing George and Cindy Anthony, the parents of Caylee Anthony's mother, Casey
Kronk had been working most recently in Orange County Utility's fiscal and administrative support division.
The county fired Kronk for failing to attend a pre-determination hearing on Tuesday, one step in the county's disciplinary process which can end in termination.
"He was basically unable to perform the essential functions of his job," said Ron Nielsen, interim Deputy Director of Orange County Utilities. "I'm not at liberty to discuss the reasons why."
Kronk most recently was working in the utilities warehouse as an inventory specialist responsible for receiving, issuing and repairing supplies. The utility employs about 800 workers, said Nielsen.
Evans responded that "Mr. Kronk is evaluating his legal options relating to his termination. In the meantime, Mr. Kronk is volunteering his time to a veteran's group in Osceola County--he is providing counseling to military veterans to help ease their adjustment to civilian life."
Check back for updates.