DOTHAN, Ala. (WTVY) – Investigators with the Holmes County Sheriff’s Office have charged a south Florida man with several felonies in connection to his coercion and subsequent false imprisonment of a teenage girl.
On November 19, 2021, deputies with the Holmes County Sheriff’s Office located a 15-year-old missing juvenile from Geneva, Alabama at the Highway 2 boat ramp in Holmes County.
After the juvenile was reunited with her family in Geneva, she disclosed the events leading up to being found by deputies, with officers of the Geneva Police Department and investigators with HCSO.
She stated that she had met an individual, later identified as 33-year-old Anthony Salvador Ocasio, on a social media platform about a month ago, and the two began communicating.
The juvenile stated the individual, who she only knew as “Anthony” came to her house in Alabama to pick her up, and they traveled to a wooded area location off Leavins Road in Holmes County.
She further stated that once at this location, Ocasio forced her into the back seat of the car, refusing to let her leave and then committed sexual battery on her while brandishing a firearm and threatening to kill her family.
The juvenile states that after nine hours she was then dropped off at the Highway 2 boat ramp, where she was found by HCSO deputies.
The sheriff’s office was able to identify Ocasio, a south Florida resident, though investigations on the social media accounts and through a detailed description of “Anthony” by the victim.
HCSO investigators were able to corroborate her story through physical and digital evidence on social media. Arrest warrants were obtained on Ocasio for forcible sexual battery, false imprisonment, and aggravated child abuse.
He was taken into custody Wednesday, Nov. 24, at a mall in Merritt Island, Florida with the assistance of the U.S. Marshals Task Force. He will be extradited back to Holmes County.
Holmes County Sheriff John Tate says while he is thankful the teen was able to return safely home, parents should heed this real-world example of the dangers of social media.
“Know what apps your children are using,” said Sheriff Tate.
“Don’t be afraid to take their phone, go through it, and be proactive about their activity and the people they’re talking to. Being an active participant in your child’s life can make a difference when it comes to them falling prey to predators online.”
This investigation is still ongoing and more charges could be added.
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