Issue 58 Mr and Mrs Smith for web

It’s a hell of a thing when an FDLE Special Agent commits perjury.  A hell of a thing.

Kathy Smith, lead FDLE agent in the Eimers death-in-custody investigation and KWPD’s Chief of Operations at the time of the arrest, appear to be partners in a perjurious plot to obtain a strangely advantageous home loan.

This casts more doubt on FDLE’s “independent” investigation of the death of Charles Eimers. It is especially troubling considering that so much direct evidence including dashcam recordings, Taser video footage, and witness information was allowed to “slip away” and that Eimers’ body was nearly cremated before autopsy; all under Special Agent Kathy Smith’s watch.

See also:  CHARLES EIMERS UPDATE: Police, Death, and Missing Videotapes

This has been an ever-worsening saga.

Soon after we published the video showing the arrest of 61-year old Eimers, we began to receive tips from readers who claimed that they too had witnessed Key West police officers “kill” people.

We asked FDLE to provide us with a list and copies of all death-in-custody and serious injury cases involving the KWPD for the past ten years.   But the list we received included only three cases, all were Monroe County jail inmates when they died and none involved KWPD officers.

We were nonetheless able to verify tips for two victims:  one Alexander Pla and a Matthew Shaun Murphy.

Both strangely resembled the Eimers case.  On February 8, 2005 Alexander Pla was taken out of his house for “acting crazy”.  KWPD threw him, hogtied, in the back of a police transport van with two officers.  By the time the door reopened at the police station Pla was dead. Matthew Shawn Murphy was tased on Duval Street three and one-half years ago.  He is still listed as a patient in a “vegetative state” at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami.  Both case files show that KWPD notified FDLE. Neither of them appeared on the list provided to us by FDLE.

Were Kathy Smith and her fellow agents at FDLE deliberately hiding Eimers-like cases from reporters? Did Kathy Smith deliberately allow Eimers’ body to be nearly cremated prior to autopsy, allow direct evidence including recordings and crucial witnesses to “disappear”?  And just how “independent” from KWPD is Agent Kathy Smith?

We previously reported that Agent Smith was in fact the ex-wife of Captain Scott Smith, who was the Commander of Operations and immediate supervisor of the officers involved in Eimers’ death. But this week we discovered that the two are also partners in a financial scheme that appears to involve outright perjury.

According to records found at the Monroe County Clerk’s office, the two were divorced on November 16, 2009.  However, four months later, on March 19, 2010, Kathy and Scott were refinancing a mortgage; a curious affair where the Smiths claim to have purchased a house for $ 132,500 in 2004 but were looking to borrow $ 461,500 on it.

At any rate, they were asked to sign an affidavit swearing that they were still married.  This isn’t just any kind of affidavit. It begins with two lines of bold capital letters warning about the “severe criminal penalties” for making of a false statement and again, just above the signature lines it warns a second time of the “penalties of law” associated with “falsely swearing to statements.”

smith affidavit bold

And sure enough both ‘eagles of law enforcement’ signed their names:  Kathy Smith and Scott Smith, swearing they are still married four months after their divorce. Hell of a thing.

smith affidavit

Can we really trust that Kathy Smith, who has a child with Scott Smith and who apparently conspired with him to obtain an advantageous home loan through perjury could investigate her ex-husband’s department and do it with the stern impartiality the law demands?

Another troubling fact surfaced involving Agent Smith’s ex-husband Scott Smith.  On December 4th, the day of Eimers’ death, Captain Smith put in an application to join FDLE.  Didn’t that create yet another layer of entanglement and conflict of interest within the Eimers investigation?

Let’s take another look at FDLE’s investigation

Sometime after 9:00 am on November 27, 2013, KWPD Chief Donie Lee gets the news that a suspect named Charles Eimers was not going to leave the hospital alive and it’s ‘Defcon 3’ at the police department.  Chief Lee is out of town for Thanksgiving, he puts Captain Scott Smith in charge. Smith brings in the Department’s “cleaner” – an officer notorious for his reported willingness to “disappear” incriminating evidence: Sergeant Pablo Rodriguez.

Rodriguez’ “magic” doesn’t always work, though.  Two months ago the City was forced to pay out $ 287,000 to settle a lawsuit brought by a former officer who claims he was harassed and retaliated against by top KWPD brass for refusing to obey Rodriguez’ order to destroy a dashcam video [showing Rodriguez running into a suspect with his police cruiser.]

Rodriguez is called in on the Eimers crisis immediately.  Then FDLE had to be called.  With or without a wink, it was agreed that Captain Smith would call his ex-wife Kathy Smith at FDLE, so she could take charge of the “independent and neutral” FDLE investigation.  FDLE must be called in for any death or serious injury that occurs “in-custody”.

Kathy drives down to Key West and according to KWPD records, the entire crew: Sgt. Rodriguez, the Smiths, and another FDLE agent, Mid Quad, meet that morning.  From that moment on Agent Kathy Smith is in charge of the investigation.  But in many ways, things would proceed as though law enforcement hoped Eimers was a castaway homeless man that no one would ever miss.

At the beach, the witnesses have been dispersed. Eimers is “un-arrested” so technically he is no longer “in-custody”; he’s just a sick old man at the hospital.  Doctors are told that he collapsed suddenly and had no pulse by the time the officers got to him and the family is not contacted. After he passes, his body will be cremated and he will simply disappear into FDLE’s filing system – just like Alexander Pla, Matthew Shawn Murphy, and who knows how many others.

In spite of the clear mandate found in Florida’s criminal statute 406.12, the Medical Examiner is not contacted after Eimers’ death. On December 4th the body is sent for cremation to Dean-Lopez funeral home. The record is clear. Even after The Blue Paper blows the whistle down at headquarters [on December 10th] on the near cremation issue, the Medical Examiner is still not notified until 24 hours after KWPD has admitted that they are aware that Eimers had been dead for 6 days.

On December 12th, the body is finally on the Medical Examiner’s table.  What is he going to find?  On January 4th, Kathy Smith calls the Medical Examiner asking whether there would be any physical traces in a case of asphyxiation by sand. [Worse case scenario for KWPD.] The Medical Examiner reassures her,

“In a fresh case – might find some sand in the upper airway but he was in the hospital for a week so less likely.  Lung changes are non-specific.”

The preliminary autopsy is inconclusive as to the cause of death.  On January 17, 2014, the Medical Examiner indicates he will have to base his conclusion on the circumstances of the arrest after FDLE has made the information available to him.

But, instead of securing all possible evidence, Kathy Smith had left all of the dashcam recordings, audio, and Taser recordings directly in the hands of KWPD officers, including Sergeant Zamora, one of the prime suspects under investigation in Eimers’ death. A month and a half after the incident, on January 13, when she is finally logging in all of that crucial direct evidence, most of it is either erased or “lost”.

Finally, on February 20th, Agent Smith begins to interview the officers.  The Medical Examiner, however, will not review any of the witness interviews himself, instead he specifies on April 8, 2014, that he will shred the CD’s that were provided and rely exclusively on Kathy Smith’s “impression of interviews.”

“Note: Some interviews on CD have been provided to me.  They will be shredded as they are not my work product.   Her impression of interviews is what I will use.”

Agent Smith tells the ME that Eimers was able to breathe at all times:

During the interrogations, Officer Wanciak had told agent Smith that Eimers “was face down in the sand.”  During last week’s deposition, Officer Gary Lee Lovette admitted he positioned his knee next to Eimers head to keep it from moving.  Officer Wallis also testified that Eimers’ “face was in the sand” as did multiple civilian witnesses and photos taken at the hospital showed sand inside of Eimers nose.  Yet the information the ME will get from Agent Smith is that: “The FDLE investigation concluded that his face was not forced into the sand, but rather, as he struggled, his face moved back and forth across the sand. Audio recordings from the evidence revealed that Mr. Eimers repeatedly said ‘No.’ Such verbalization would not have been possible if he had been smothering in the sand.”

FDLE did not make any effort to conduct a reenactment.  However, a reenactment filmed by The Blue Paper demonstrates with absolute certainty that when a person’s shoulders are pinned down on the beach [officers admitted to pinning Eimers’ shoulders down], the first movement of the head to the side raises a berm of dry sand, which in turn rolls back to bury the nose and mouth.

Why Was Blood Flowing From Eimers Ears?

At last week’s deposition Officers testified that blood was flowing out of Eimers right ear and that Sergeant Zamora had ordered Officer Gary Lee Lovette to clean the blood off of his hands.  Lovette is heard on his Taser audio saying, “Me, I dropped like a f***ing bomb on his head.” Blood is clearly seen in photographs taken at the hospital both in Eimers’ right ear and behind his head on the gurney.  Yet Agent Smith notes in her report, “The photographs which were taken at the hospital, on the day of the incident, did not show blood in either of Eimers’ ears.”

In the end, the ME had no choice but to choose what Agent Smith’s version of the facts seemed to support: heart failure [ventricular fibrillation].

Kathy Smith signed off on the final FDLE report on June 19, 2014 and passed it off to the State Attorney.

For months The Blue Paper had reported that civilian eyewitnesses who had been working at the Southernmost Beach Café had not been interviewed and that others, who had contacted FDLE attempting to provide crucial testimony, had not been called back.  At this point, many are long gone or have forgotten most of the details.  “It is a fact that memory doesn’t improve with time,” said David Paul Horan, one of the Eimers family attorneys,  “All of these witnesses should have been interviewed immediately.”

It now appears that the Medical Examiner and even the State Attorney relied on an FDLE investigation that could have been tainted by conflict of interest and a lack of basic honesty on the part of the lead investigator.


To access all Blue Paper coverage on the death of Charles Eimers click here.

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  1. Based on the available evidence I’ve studied, along with the refusal of the State Attorney, FDLE and KWPD to cooperate in rendering an accurate and complete examination of the facts, it has really gone beyond the point where one must continue to refer to Charles Eimers’ death, as an alleged ‘Murder’.

    For the sake of clarity, I will express the following views and perspectives regarding Mr. Eimers’ in-custody death, solely via my opinion.

    As discussed, the time has arrived for the next move to be made. Independent of the State Attorney, FDLE, Mayor, City Manager and Police Chief; a complete evidentiary file will be created, containing verifiable and irrefutable data, which documents the murder of Mr. Charles Eimers. Not only did this illegal killing take place, it was followed up by a series of criminal sequences designed to cover-up a homicide.

    Individual misconduct and criminal breaches of the law at all levels will be identified in this file. A time line will determine each instance of official malfeasance. Each behavior will be distinguished as to its date, time and person.

    Supplemental data will symmetrically link each aspect of the cover-up to its source. Congruent relationships formed to obstruct, destroy, tamper and conceal evidence will be highlighted and connected directly to the crime committed.

    A detailed examination of the command structure and origin of all directives (recorded conversations, statements, e-mails, text messages, voicemails, written and verbal communiqués, along with phone numbers and oral communications) will expose culpability, along with patterns of behavior that will trigger interviews, sworn statements and complicit comments.

    Criminal conspiracies will be identified, as the guilty roll on one another, cut deals and plead for a deal….

    The heavy lifting has been done by Arnaud and Naja Girard.

    The volume of evidence, as it has been meticulously recorded by The Blue Paper, will force the United States of America to secure a just result for Mr. Eimers and his family.

  2. Another strange fact we also need to recall is that the Medical Examiner resigned , what? , a few weeks later and left Key West. Shredding the CDs ? Why not return them? Everything about this case smells . Time to clean house, Commissioners.
    In 13 days it will be a YEAR we have been dealing with this! There has not even been a condolence sent by that Commision. Maybe one of you will show up at the candlelight sevice Thanksgiving evening?

  3. Once again I want to thank Naja and Arnaud for their brilliant work on this story. I continue to be amazed with the information/evidence they discover, through their diligence and hard work.

    That being said, I continue to be sickened and disgusted with the ignorance, stupidity and corruption of the local law ENFORCEMENT agencies (how’s that for an oxymoron!), KWPD and FDLE, the Monroe County State Attorney, our local City Commission, and even the County Commission. Is ANYONE paying attention?

    Perhaps the Smiths’ mortgage lender should be made aware of the fraud that was perpetrated against them. The lender would be perfectly within its rights to call that mortgage due and payable now.

    I am appalled that not one of our local leaders has expressed any interest in the facts that have been uncovered and laid out by regarding not only this case but SOOO many other instances of abuses by the KWPD. In this story mention is made of yet another settlement the city has made, almost $300,000, to a former KWPD officer for harassment he received on the job, by TOP KWPD BRASS! And these people still have jobs??!!

    What a pathetic po-dunk town this is. The citizens of Key West deserve better and it is incumbent of our elected leaders to make it happen.

  4. Thanks to the Blue Paper for digging down for the truth. Other people have been too intimidated by the KWPD and the power behind the “force.” By making this information public we citizens become more aware of the criminal element running our city (and county), but will it change anything? How much more evidence is needed to prove this man was murdered? I have heard from hospital employees that Eimer’s came in with a mouth and lungs full of sand. Would that show up in the medical records or were they cleaned up too? Will we ever rid this city of its criminal element in the KWPD? Are we all too intimidated to speak out against the bullies hired to serve and protect us? I would fear for my life if not for the anonymous cover of this forum. It’s time for the feds to step in and clean up.

  5. As we wade through this bureaucratic nightmare, it seems there is one final investigation and report we await. This will be the last report/document prior to an expensive long drawn out EXPENSIVE for the Key West taxpayers… TRIAL. Then Mr Horan and Mr Eimer’s family will finally have a day in court, which we all hope will be truly independent and without influence. I am not sure that is possible in such a corrupt environment, but I remain hopeful. What we all still await, is Chief Lee’s report from the KWPD. This will be a last – VERY LAST opportunity for truth and justice to prevail. Have I made up my mind? It MAY appear so, but I will not reach a final conclusion until this report is published – then I will form my opinion as will everyone else (including CBS news). We see from evidence (or LACK OF) and video from the Blue Paper there have been serious – VERY serious procedural and protocol issues (to say the least). Personally I think this has got way out of hand and no one in the city now, knows what to do about it. I think no one at the city has any idea how to clean up this mess and restore faith in our leaders and the good men and women of the police force – yes there are many good ones. The last chance to do so lies with Chief Lee. I can only hope his report will come out and acknowledge the problems we all know exist within this case. We are NOT stupid. I for one await his report – if mistakes have been made please come clean. If mistakes have been made correct them by whatever means is available. Failure to do so is going to be VERY EXPENSIVE. We paid $8 million for the Duck Tours mess many years ago due to city mistakes and playing favoritism. Tax payers do not forget, those who do we will remind them. Do it again to us and people will demand a change of leadership – if such a thing even exists in Key West. Please come clean Key West – someone step up and take a leadership roll – this may be your last chance in the Eimer’s case before it costs us all a fortune.

  6. What I hope Mayor Cates, the city commissioners, the city manager and the city attorney have done already, is read last week’s and this week’s Charles Eimers articles in Key West the Newspaper. Naja and Arnaud Girard and Paul David Horan are destroying Donnie Lee and KWPD, and also Florida Department of Law Enforcement, and State Attorney Catherine Vogel and her assistant state attorneys, who “worked with the grand jury”, and the grand jury itself, which has turned out to be seriously petite, sort of rhymes with petty.

    What I hope Mayor Cates, et. al above are already doing is moving at flank (light) speed toward cleaning house in their police department. Note the emphasis, since the police chief is hired by and answers to and is fired by the city manager, and since the city manager is hired by, answers to and is fired by the mayor and city commissioners sitting as the City Commission, and since the city attorney advises the people above and himself is hired and fired by the City Commission. Meaning, this all falls on Mayor Cates and the city commissioners; it is their karma; it is their responsibility regardless of how how they might view it differently.

    I know there are good police officers in KWPD, who wish this was all happening differently, but as I have heard and seen written in reader comments in KeyWest the Newspaper, Citizen’s voice at the Citizen, and the Coconut Telegraph (, can there be any good police officers in KWPD, if they know what is going on and don’t do everything they can to try to get it stopped and dealt with in keeping with their sworn oath to serve and protect the public? If not, why even have a police department? Or, why call it a police department? Change its name to something in keeping with its behavior.

    Perhaps there ought to be a rename the Key West Police Department contest page on Facebook?

    Meanwhile, this ex-lawyer has put off asking a pesky question of blue paper readers who live in Key West, and who vote here, and who are upset about the Eimers case and other KWPD cases reported by the blue paper, at no small risk to Arnaud and Naja Girard …

    My pesky question is:

    Did those blue paper readers vote for either Craig Cates or Margaret Romero in the August city election, when both of them were backing KWPD in the Eimers case despite what the blue paper was publishing?

  7. I’ve been here 20 yrs. I wish I could wrap my mind around the problem with police. I can’t. How many chiefs have I been through? 4? I know police work is difficult, but nothing excuses the rude, aggressive behavior which I’ve personally suffered, and clerical/reporting errors I have experienced; and outright animosity in response to requests for service for which they are responsible.
    In more recent years the bad attitudes have worsened. They act way-over- the-top stern, angry and threatening needlessly. At a political rally recently both the Mayor and a would-be mayor defended them quite vigorously when someone the audience asked “Who’s going to defend us from the police?” I agree with Island Girl, above. Get to the truth and avoid the cost of a civil suit and penalty, and get rid of anyone found to be complicit in a cover-up, Commissioners. Lead!

    • Faithful Reader and Island Girl, the cost of a civil suit penalty now is in the hands of a federal judge and, if the case is tried, it will be in the hands of a federal jury, unless the city and the plaintiffs agree on a settlement. Perhaps the plaintiff would be more amendable to settlement, if it was clear the city was dealing aggressively with the principal officers in the South Beach incident, and also with the cover up, which, based on the blue paper’s articles, appears massive.

      I told Assistant State Attorney, while the grand jury was in session, that I hoped he was going after the cover up as much as what happened on South Beach. My sense even as I talked with Mark that he and the grand jury would whitewash it.

      Unless John Donnelly, or someone, can get the feds to aggressively investigate the Eimers case, I don’t see it happened. I don’t see Mayor Cates calling in the FBI or the US Department of Justice. Getting elected without a runoff in August was a mandate for Craig. I think he now is term limited out. If so, he cannot be threatened with not being reelected.

      I am still wondering just how deep the people in Key West are troubled by what happened to Charles Eimers. The turn out for the Charles Eimers candlelight memorial Thanksgiving night on South Beach, hosted by local radio show host Gary Ek, will be a good read on how deep the people in Key West are troubled by what their police did to Charles Eimers.

      I received an email from a Key West friend the other day saying he and his wife would be there in spirit. I replied, “Bodies make an impression.” He wrote back saying they would try to make it. I wondered why I even needed to say that? This is someone who is very troubled by a lot of things going on in Key West.

      Another friend, also really upset about the Eimers case, he and his wife are cooking for other people and feeding them the same time as the Eimers candlelight ceremony. I was invited. I asked if they could save leftovers, as I would be at South Beach when they were serving.

      Saying it another way, the recent building height referendum, against which I voted, passed by better than 80 percent of the votes cast on November 4. I wonder what percent of the voters are upset enough to be at the candle light ceremony Thanksgiving, 6 p.m., South Beach? Probably a good idea to bring a candle, just in case.

      Right, being there might get people’s faces in a photograph or a video, which might end up in the hands of KW police officers.

  8. I affirm that the public records show a divorce on 11/23/2009 followed by an affidavit of continuous marriage on mar 16, 2010, used to obtain a $461,500 mortgage at 4.375%.
    They had taken out ten mortgages over the years since they bought and co-owned it 19 1996 with two other smiths. the other smiths sold their half to Scott and Kathy in 2004. Scott quitclaimed his half to Kathy in May of 2010, two months after they got the mortgage. The new mortgage was not a cash bonanza, replacing a $455k mortgage in 2004.
    Their is a lis pendens issued as of Feb 2014, and Zillow lists it as pre-foreclosure, worth $519 (the property appraiser says $446k).
    What is curious is that it is still homesteaded in Kathy’s name, while the lis pendens lists two unknown names, Mehrdad Elie and Gregory Cutuli. Such names are often renters, since they are not on any of the mortgage documents.
    Great work again, Naja and Arnaud.

    A friend asks me, why hasn’t this been taken up by the U.S. Attorney? Is it restricted to the jurisdiction of the State?

    • You attended Yale law school for a while, Rick. What did you tell your friend? If your friend had asked me the question, I would have said it probably would take Mayor Craig Cates or Police Chief Donnie Lee or State Attorney Catherine Vogel to request the US Attorney to investigate the Charles Eimers case. Before my time in Key West, as I heard it told, a Key West chief of police asked the FBI to investigate the Key West city government for corruption, and the FBI did that. But also if your friend had asked me that question, I would have asked a question back, a question I already asked in an earlier comment to this most recent Eimers article. I would ask your friend if he/she voted for Mayor Cates or Margaret Romero in this year’s mayors race? If I received an affirmative answer, I would say, well then, just my opinion, you don’t have any reason to be complaining now about that case, because you approved how the city was handling it when you voted for either Cates or Romero, who were backing the police despite what the blue paper was reporting about the Eimers case. Now if your friend declined to answer my question, citing his/her secret ballot rights, I would have said, well, I take that as pleading the Fifth Amendment to avoid self incrimination, and my answer is the same therefore :-).

  9. I bicycled over to Higgs Beach yesterday evening, hoping to listen some to Love Lane Gang playing music at Salute Ristorante.

    But the gang wasn’t there, so I biked down to the west end of Higgs beach to see if any vicious snowbird van dweller criminals were hanging out. Yep, several usual suspects sat in their folding chairs enjoying the warm evening on the beach, for free, which is what made them vicious criminals – they didn’t pay money for being there, or for wintering in their vehicles in Key West.

    They said word had it that Salute and Love Lane Gang had come up with a new contract, which was Love Lane Gang would be paid more for each Sunday evening performance, and Love Lane Gang no longer would get free food and drinks. I said, well, that could explain the gang not being there last night. My observation was the gang liked the free food, but even more, some of the gang really liked the free drinks. One of the gang, especially, liked the free drinks so much, that I’d seen him sit down a tables with customers and carry on like any really obnoxious drunk carries on, hogging the conversation, talking loud, being an expert on everything, like there was nobody else in the conversation but him.

    It only just now occurs to me that the very same thing routinely occurs amongst the usual vehicle dweller suspects with whom I was conversing about Love Lane Gang and Salute. And amongst gatherings of gangs of homeless people on Higgs Beach, and elsewhere. And amongst gatherings of lots of different “gangs” of people in lots of different settings in Key West.

    Well, let me get back to where I was headed, which was one of the usual vehicle dweller suspects praised Key West for how safe it is, no major crime here, a great place to hang out. I said, tell that to the fellow who died on South Beach last Thanksgiving. Oh, well, yeah, there was that. Several of the snowbirds had blank, as in, what’s that about looks on their faces? I said the Key West cops killed a man on South Beach last Thanksgiving.

    One of the pundits said, yeah, the cops had the man down on the sand and they tasered him and his heart stopped beating. I said, not hardly. One of the cops had two knees on the guy’s back, and elbowed him in the back of the head. The other cops where holding him down, too. His face was buried in the sand, he could not breathe, he turned blue, he smothered, and that stopped his heart from breathing. They treated him that way, because they believed he was living in his van and was homeless. I said you folks really do need to go online and read the two most recent articles about that in Key West the Newspaper, so you can find out just your safe police down here really are.

    The looks on their faces led me to believe they would not be reading those two he-turned-blue-and-died articles. They didn’t really want to know, which I found simply amazing, because I figured they really already should have known, since they hold forth all the time on about any and everything, and because they live in their vehicles, which is what got that fellow killed. That, and, I told them, he told the first cop, who had stopped him, that he had come down here to do God’s work, which he promptly set out to do by getting himself killed for being suspected of being homeless.

    One of the snowbirds then said, it’s like that all over America, cops are killing people for no reason. Another snowbird amended that, and said they are killing children, too. I said that’s true, but in those cases the cops claimed their feared for their own lives being at risk; they believed the people they shot had guns. In this case on South Beach, there was no such fear; the fellow had no gun; it was not believed he had a gun; they killed him because they thought he lived in his vehicle.

    I gave up, bid them good evening, and pedaled back to where I stay, telling the angels all along the way that this is nuts, I am wasting my breath writing about Kep West police murdering Charles Eimers last Thanksgiving Day. Give me something else to write about, instead. Better still, relocate me.

    I had several dreams last night telling me in different ways, and telling me kindly, for a change, how important it is for me to continue covering and publishing, at least through Christmas, on the murder of Charles Eimers by Key West police.

    Now that the US Department of Justice has blown the University of North Carolina clean out of the water over the two dozen years of fake classes for basketball players scandal, maybe DOJ will aim its ordinance at Key West.

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