There is a sense of relief inside the Wayside Glen Mobile Home Park in Manatee County, where an innocent 5 year old was abducted and sexually battered Monday.
The arrest of 36-year-old Dominick Jerome Hawkins has ended days of terror there.
The victim was seen on surveillance video inside a nearby convenience store with the alleged suspect. Soon after buying her candy, deputies say he took her to a different mobile home park and sexually battered her.
"She told us she felt really scared...and that she never wanted to talk to strangers anymore," said one of her relatives, who spoke with FOX 13 but did not want to be identified.
It turns out that Hawkins used to live in the same mobile home park. Some residents there remembered seeing him, even recalled seeing his kids playing.
He's since been homeless, according to the Manatee County Sheriff's Office. He was found Wednesday afternoon near the Resurrection House, a facility for the homeless in Sarasota. People there recognized him.
"I knew for sure because he left me with the same outfit and he was carrying, he was the same bag I've been seeing for a week straight," said Kyle Kendrick, who knew the suspect.
Hawkins is being charged with kidnapping and capital sexual battery. He will make his first appearance in court Thursday.
"I couldn't sleep the last two nights knowing he could come back in the park and do anything to anybody. And I'm just really excited he's behind bars," said neighbor Misty Bell.
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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