Escaped sex offender arrested after hours of searching
By Kimberly Wiggins, Reporter -
NEW SMYRNA BEACH, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35 ORLANDO) -
A convicted sex offender who escaped custody on Wednesday afternoon was arrested late Wednesday evening. Volusia County Sheriff's deputies had already scaled back their search after looking for the suspect for nearly eight hours.
Investigators said Luis Alberto Hernandez Dejesus, 31, broke free after an arrest attempt Wednesday afternoon in New Smyrna Beach. He is a convicted sex offender who did not register his new address.
Brandon Haught, a spokesperson for Volusia County Sheriff's Office, said a deputy drove to Dejesus' job at Park Avenue Motors along North Dixie Highway in New Smyrna Beach around 1 p.m. Wednesday to arrest him.
"Our deputy had secured him in handcuffs, was leading him back to a patrol vehicle, when the suspect then started fighting back and was able to simply run away," said Haught.
Haught said Dejesus jumped over a sea wall and into the marsh.
"About 20 minutes later, I go back inside, and I start hearing the helicopters and everything coming in," said Jae King, who witnessed a portion of the incident. "From there, [authorities] just swarmed us."
Deputies, state troopers, and New Smyrna Beach police searched for the suspect, focusing their attention on the area surrounding a nearby car dealership.
"A couple of hours after that he was spotted right here behind this dealership, right there in the marsh," said Haught.
Dejesus faces a charge of battery on a law enforcement officer -- a much more serious charge than the original one he faced, which was failure to register as a sex offender.
The deputy who was attacked sustained some minor cuts