Woman who rode manatee comes forward

Oct. 3, 2012 at 11:42 AM

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla., Oct. 3 (UPI) -- Authorities in Florida said a woman photographed riding a manatee has come forward and could face charges.

Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri circulated pictures Tuesday of a woman riding a manatee at Fort De Soto Park and Ana Gloria Garcia Gutierrez, 52, came forward later in the day and identified herself as the woman in the photos, the Tampa Bay Times reported Wednesday.

Deputies interviewed Gutierrez at her home and she admitted to touching manatees, but said she was unaware her actions were a violation of the Florida Manatee Sanctuary Act.

Gutierrez could face a possible fine of $500 and 60 days in jail if she is convicted under the act.

The sheriff's office said the case has been referred to the state attorney's office for possible charges.

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