A 54-year-old Florida man with the word “sacrifice” tattooed across his forehead is accused of raping and mutilating a woman.
Bruce Wayne Whitehead, who deputies referred to as a “brutal rapist,” was taken into custody on Thursday and charged with one count of attempted felony murder, sexual battery with a deadly weapon, armed kidnapping, and robbery: armed with a deadly weapon, records reviewed by Law&Crime show.
According to the Orange County Sheriff’s Office, deputies were able to locate and detain Whitehead on Thursday morning after an “observant resident” called authorities at approximately 7 a.m. and reported seeing the suspect.
CAPTURED and heading to jail! Bruce Whitehead, who raped and tried to murder a woman Dec. 10, was caught thanks to a tip at 7 a.m. today from an observant resident. pic.twitter.com/IgipT1KxRz
— Orange County Sheriff’s Office (@OrangeCoSheriff) December 15, 2022
The sheriff’s office on Wednesday put out numerous press releases as deputies searched for Whitehead. The office said he “raped and mutilated a woman off Pine Hills Rd near North Ln. on Dec. 10.” The release further noted that Whitehead spent 20 years in prison after he was convicted on charges of rape and attempted murder in the 1980s.
Records from the Florida Department of Corrections reviewed by Law&Crime show that Whitehead in 1986 was convicted in Duval County on one count each of first-degree attempted premeditated murder, kidnapping, and sexual assault with a deadly weapon. He was sentenced to serve 40 years but was released in May 2007. He was also imprisoned from January 2015 to May March 2017 after being convicted on multiple counts of simple battery.
During a Wednesday afternoon press conference, Corporal Evan Avila provided additional details on Whitehead’s alleged crimes.
According to Avila, deputies at approximately 4 a.m. on Saturday Dec. 10 responded to a 911 call in the area of North Pine Hills Road and North Lane. The caller told the emergency dispatcher that she had just managed to escape her attacker “from a nearby area” and was then assisted by several bystanders.
The victim allegedly said that she met the suspect — later identified as Whitehead — earlier in the morning at a business located near the Florida Mall. After meeting him, the victim allegedly agreed to go with Whitehead and they “travelled to a few different locations.”
“At one of the stops they made, Whitehead presented a weapon and threatened to harm her if she did not comply with his demands,” Avila said. “They went to the final stop near Pine Hills Road and North Lane and went into the location where the sexual battery subsequently occurred. After he sexually battered her, he attempted to murder our victim. At that point our victim bravely fought him off and was able to escape to a nearby sub-division where the bystanders were able to assist her and contact law enforcement.”
Investigators first identified Whitehead’s vehicle Saturday evening and asked for the community’s help in locating him, “particularly because of the history he has with this offense.”
“In my time here at the sheriff’s office, this is probably one of the more egregious offenses,” Avila said about Whitehead’s alleged crimes. “Personally, I would qualify him as a monster. That’s my personal take.”
The sheriff’s office said that the victim is expected to recover from her injuries.
Watch the press conference below:
[Image via Orange County Sheriff’s Office]
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