FDLE announces the arrest of Rebekah Jones, COVID-19 scientist
Authorities announced the arrest of former COVID-19 data scientist Rebekah Jones.
Jones, 31, posted on Twitter on Saturday that she planned to turn herself in to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to avoid a police confrontation like the one experienced by her family in December.
In their announcement, FDLE said Jones is accused of one count of offenses against users of computers, computer systems, computer networks and electronic devices.
FDLE said the investigation began on November 10 after the department received a complaint from the Florida Department of Health that someone had illegally accessed a state emergency-alert messaging system, known as ReadyOP.
Investigators determined the message was sent from someone in a residence on Centerville Court in Tallahassee, where Jones lives.
Authorities said evidence retrieved during their search of Jones’ home in December shows she accessed the system and sent a message to about 1,750 people, as well as downloading confidential department of health data and saving it to her devices.
The message Jones is accused of sending is “It’s time 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.”
Jones, who has been critical of Gov. Ron DeSantis’s response to COVID-19, was fired in May.
Jones’s action caused confusion and doubt amongst personnel and resulted in employees being redirected from their normal tasks to investigate the breach in security, according to the arrest warrant for Jones.