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Florida official’s body went undiscovered for 24 minutes outside Capitol meeting room

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  • AMY BETH BENNETT/SOUTH FLORIDA SUN-SENTINEL VIA ASSOCIATED PRESS
                                Florida Election Crimes and Security Office Director Peter Antonacci speaks during a news conference at the Broward County Courthouse, in August 2022, in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Antonacci was dead or dying in a hallway in the governor’s office complex for 24 minutes before anyone noticed he had collapsed after leaving a meeting in 2022.

    AMY BETH BENNETT/SOUTH FLORIDA SUN-SENTINEL VIA ASSOCIATED PRESS

    Florida Election Crimes and Security Office Director Peter Antonacci speaks during a news conference at the Broward County Courthouse, in August 2022, in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Antonacci was dead or dying in a hallway in the governor’s office complex for 24 minutes before anyone noticed he had collapsed after leaving a meeting in 2022.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. >> A Florida official was dead or dying in a hallway in the governor’s office complex for 24 minutes before anyone noticed he had collapsed after leaving a meeting last year.

Peter Antonacci, 74, had held several government positions before Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis appointed him to serve as the first director of the Office of Election Crimes and Security. DeSantis created the office last year.

But two months into the job, Antonacci attended a meeting in a conference room at the Capitol. He left early and the meeting room door closed behind him, according to a Florida Department of Law Enforcement report on the death. More than 20 minutes later, Florida Department of Law Enforcement Commissioner Mark Glass stepped into the hallway to have a conversation with another meeting attendee when Antonacci’s body was found. Glass began chest compressions and an effort to use an automatic defibrillator failed to revive him, according to the report.

DeSantis wasn’t at the meeting, said his spokesman Jeremy Redfern.

The only two doorways into the room lead to a non-public entrance into the governor’s office and a public entrance leading to the Capitol’s first floor. The hallway is windowless and doors are usually kept shut during meetings. Typically, people do not use the hallway unless they are going to or from a meeting.

The Capitol Bulldog last weekend reported details of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement’s report on the death. The Associated Press independently reviewed the report, which states Antonacci had a long history of heart disease and surgery.

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