A Florida man has been arrested by Holmes County Sheriff’s Department in connection with the coercion and false imprisonment of a 15 year old Geneva girl.
Anthony Salvador Ocasio, 33, has been charged with several felonies in connection to his coercion and subsequent false imprisonment of the teenage girl on November 19.
The girl was reported missing from her Geneva residence to the Geneva Police Department on Friday morning. As officers investigated they became concerned that the teen could have crossed state lines.
“Multiple agencies were contacted,” said Geneva police chief Pepper Mock. “Just as more aggressive investigative means were being pursued she was located by deputies with Holmes County Sheriff’s Office on Saturday morning, at about 2:00 a.m.”
HCSO Deputies located the missing juvenile at the Highway 2 boat ramp in Holmes County.
After the girl was reunited with her family in Geneva, she disclosed the events leading up to being found by deputies, with officers of the GPD and investigators with HCSO.
She said that she had met an individual, later identified as Ocasio, on a social media platform about a month ago, and the two began communicating.
The juvenile said 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 reported 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 said 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, through 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 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.