Reporting Peter D’Oench
New Year's Eve South Florida Style
KENDALL (CBS4) – The U.S. military has launched an investigation after a grenade was found in a Kendall woman’s yard and after Miami-Dade police evacuated her neighborhood as a precaution.
Jean Viollis, 68, said she found the grenade just before 3:30 p.m. on Wednesday in her backyard in the neighborhood of SW 92nd Avenue and 85th Street. She said how it got there is a mystery to her since she raked the yard for leaves a few days before and it was not there.
“I have my pile there, I raked that up on Monday,” said Viollis pointing to leafy pile in her yard, “And I raked those up on Tuesday (indicating another pile) and it wasn’t there.”
She told CBS4’s Peter D’Oench, “It was just sitting there on top of the ground. Somebody put it there because it was not buried and it wasn’t dirty, nothing. It was just sitting there.”
Viollis said she wonders if workers who had been trimming trees in the neighborhood disturbed the ground and exposed the grenade.
“I’d just like to know how it got there,” said Viollis. “I looked at it and thought it might be equipment but it wasn’t any type of equipment.”
“You weren’t worried that it would explode?” D’Oench asked her.
“I didn’t know what it was so I didn’t think about,” said Viollis. “But later I was scared. I was scared.”
After she made the frightening discovery, she said she took the grenade across the street to ask a neighbor who had been in the military service.
“So I went across the street and I asked him about it,” said Viollis. “He said put it in water and call the Police, which I did.”
Miami-Dade Police responded with their Bomb Squad.
A member of that specially-trained bomb squad carefully retrieved the military-grade, 40 millimeter explosive and carried it to a waiting bomb disposal unit.
“So the question now is why my yard of all yards?” asked Viollis. “The big question is why it got here and how it got here.”
Neighbors were also scared.
“They told us it was a bomb,” said neighbor Maria Chavez.
“This is a very deadly weapon. Had this weapon activated, this could take out a vehicle,” said Det. Roy Rutland of Miami-Dade Police.
Viollis has a lot to worry about these days. She found the grenade within days of doctors telling her they found a tumor near a nerve. Last September her husband George died of cancer at the age of 72. He was a former military man, but she was adamant that the grenade did not belong to him.
“I know George didn’t do it because as I say he had cancer and he never came out of the house for over a year to work on the yard at all,” Viollis said. “I know everyone wants to blame him but it’s not so.”
Viollis told D’Oench she would stay in touch with Miami-Dade Police in the hope that she could find out more information about the grenade.