HOLMES COUNTY, Fla. (WDHN) – The Holmes County Sheriff’s Office posted on its social media account the arrest of a South Florida man in connection with his coercion and the subsequent bogus imprisonment of ‘a Genevan teenager.
According to a Facebook post, deputies from the Holmes County Sheriff’s Office located a 15-year-old missing from Geneva, Alabama, at the Highway 2 boat launch in Holmes County, in Florida.
After the teenager was reunited with her family in Geneva, she shared the events with Geneva police and HCSO investigators, before being rescued by authorities.
The victim said she met an individual, later identified as Anthony Salvador Ocasio, 33, on a social media platform about a month ago, and the two began to communicate. The victim said the individual, whom she only knew as “Anthony”, picked her up from her home in Alabama and drove to a wooded area near Leavins Road in Holmes County .
The teenager further stated that once there, Ocasio forced her to sit in the back seat of the car, refusing to let her go, then sexually beat her while brandishing a gun. on fire and threatening to kill his family.
The miner states that after nine hours she was then dropped off at the Highway 2 boat launch, where she was found by HCSO deputies.
The sheriff’s office was able to identify Ocasio, a South Florida resident, through investigations into social media accounts and a detailed description of “Anthony” by the victim.
HCSO investigators were able to corroborate his story with physical and digital evidence on social media. Arrest warrants have been obtained against Ocasio for forced sexual violence, forcible confinement and aggravated ill-treatment.
Ocasio was arrested Wednesday at a shopping mall in Merritt Island, Florida, with help from the US Marshals Task Force. He will be extradited to Holmes County.
Holmes County Sheriff John Tate said on his Facebook page, while he is grateful the teenager was able to make it home safely, parents should heed this real-life example of the dangers of social media .
“Know what apps your kids are using,” Sheriff Tate said.
“Don’t be afraid to pick up their phone, browse it and be proactive about their business and the people they’re talking to. Being actively involved in your child’s life can make all the difference when they fall prey to online predators.
That investigation is still ongoing and more charges could be added, according to the Holmes County Sheriff’s Office.
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