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One of Bradford’s most wanted caught in Puerto Rico

Juan Oquendo Jr. refuses to answer questions from the media as Bradford deputies escort him from a patrol vehicle to the sheriff’s office.  Also pictured is (r) Detective Lt. Gail Russell who took over the 12-year-old case after a tip on the sheriff’s website led him to the suspect’s whereabouts.

Juan Oquendo Jr. refuses to answer questions from the media as Bradford deputies escort him from a patrol vehicle to the sheriff’s office. Also pictured is (r) Detective Lt. Gail Russell who took over the 12-year-old case after a tip on the sheriff’s website led him to the suspect’s whereabouts.


DAN HILDEBRAN

Monitor Editor

Bradford deputies took custody of a Puerto Rico man Friday after an internet tip led them to the suspect in a 12-year-old case.

The sheriff’s office charged Juan Oquendo Jr. with one count a sexual battery on a person over 12 years of age and two counts of sexual battery on a person under 12 years of age.

The charges against Oquendo are not proven and he is presumed innocent until adjudicated guilty by a court.

According to sheriff’s Capt. Brad Smith, a judge signed an arrest warrant for Oquendo in May 2000 after two victims accused him of sexual battery.

However, by the time the victims made the allegations, Oquendo had resigned from his job at Union Correction Institution and had been out of the area for about a year.

Smith said the sheriff’s office has listed Oquendo as one of its most wanted suspects on the office’s website for the past several years.

Last November, a tipster used the website to alert the office of Oquendo’s whereabouts in Puerto Rico. Detective Lt. Gail Russell then confirmed the suspect’s location, obtained an extradition warrant and worked with the FBI to transport Oquendo to Jacksonville.

Puerto Rico officials arrested Oquendo. FBI agents flew him to Jacksonville and turned him over to Russell.

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