A 15-year-old girl was taken from her Geneva home by a Florida man she met on social media, the Holmes County, Florida Sheriff’s Office announced on Wednesday.
According to Holmes County Sheriff John Tate, the teen met Anthony Salvador Ocasio, 33, on a social media platform about a month ago, and the two began communicating.
The girl said the man, who she only knew as “Anthony” came to her house in Alabama to pick her up, and they traveled to a wooded area in Holmes County.
Tate said 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 girl said that after nine hours she was then dropped off at a boat ramp, where she was found by HCSO deputies on Nov. 19.
She 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.
The sheriff’s office was able to identify Ocasio through investigations on the social media accounts and through a detailed description by the victim.
HCSO investigators were able to corroborate her story through physical and digital evidence on social media.
Arrest warrants were obtained against Ocasio for forcible sexual battery, false imprisonment, and aggravated child abuse.
Ocasio was taken into custody 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, Tate said.
Tate says while he was thankful the teen was able to return safely home.
”Know what apps your children are using,” said 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.”
Alabama girl, 15, taken from home, sexually battered at gunpoint by Florida man she met online, sheriff says