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Former Florida coronavirus data worker says she plans to turn herself in to police

"Saying goodbye to my family just now is the hardest thing I've ever done in my life," Rebekah Jones wrote on Twitter.

TAMPA, Fla — Former Florida Department of Health worker, Rebekah Jones is turning herself in to police, after an arrest warrant was issued by the state.

Jones described her situation Saturday in a lengthy Twitter thread where she refers to her decision as one of the hardest things she's ever experienced.

"Saying goodbye to my family just now is the hardest thing I've ever done in my life," Rebekah Jones wrote on Twitter.

For context, Jones helped create the state's COVID-19 dashboard but was ousted last year when Gov. Ron DeSantis accused her of putting data on the portal that the scientists did not believe, not listening to her superiors, and having criminal charges in the state. 

Since then, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement claims Jones got into the Department of Health communications system and sent a text to users of the State Emergency Response Team after she had left her position. Jones has publicly denied such claims.

Agents stand by the accusation that Rebekah Jones' IP address was linked to the text message

The message in question, according to the affidavit for the search warrant provided by the FDLE, was sent Nov. 10 and urged people "to speak up before another 17,000 people are dead. You know this is wrong. You don't have to be part of this. Be a hero. Speak out before it's too late."  

A raid of her home was conducted by state investigators who seized Jones' computer equipment and cell phones. Jones, who called the search warrant a "sham," followed with a lawsuit against FDLE Commissioner Rick Swearingen.

A judge was expected to rule on the return of the equipment on Jan. 13 but found that the record presented was not complete enough to make a final decision for several reasons. 

The intent to file charges, future venue and decision to include, or not, the state attorney's office in the proceedings were all cited as causes for today's "draw." 

Now, three days later, Jones stands by her accusation that there is no evidence of her sending the message and that the warrant is "based on a lie."

According to Jones, "police did find documents I received/downloaded from sources in the state or something of that nature."

She also called the timeliness of the alleged arrest warrant into question in her tweets claiming it came one day after her court hearing. Regardless, Jones says she plans to turn herself over to the police on Sunday. 

"To protect my family from continued police violence, and to show that I'm ready to fight whatever they throw at me, I'm turning myself in to police in Florida Sunday night. The Governor will not win his war on science and free speech. He will not silence those who speak out," she tweeted.

The FDLE confirmed to 10 Tampa Bay that there is an active warrant out for Rebekah Jones' arrest. The agency is currently working with her attorney and said more information is set to be released.

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