Thursday, July 19, 2018
Public safety

Before he fled to Tampa, police say he sexually assaulted a girl in Delaware then threw her in a pond

TAMPA — Daniel Santucci Jr. took a trip to Florida after becoming the most wanted man in Delaware.

Police in New Castle County were piecing together evidence they said pointed to Santucci, 23, as the man behind one of the area's most heinous crimes. Detectives say the Deleware man kidnapped a 4-year-old girl from her home in the Village of Plum Run.

He lured the girl to his car, police said, and then he sexually assaulted her. And then, said the county's Chief of Police Vaughn Bond, Santucci threw her in a pond and left her there to die.

"Santucci did not care about the victim or her parents or what an incident like this would do to them," Bond said. "He did not care about the fear he instilled in every parent."

On Monday, just over a month after a good Samaritan found the girl suffering alone in a park, officers announced Santucci's name and charges in a media conference.

They also publicly thanked the Tampa Police Department — who arrested Santucci on April 20 in an apartment complex on E McEwen Avenue — and other agencies for their help.

"We are forever grateful for your willingness to step up and assist," Bond said. "Without you, we don't know we'd be standing here today, right now, making this announcement."

Some time after April 6, police said Santucci boarded a Greyhound bus to Tampa. By leaving the state of Delaware, he violated his probation for a burglary conviction.

On April 11, police found Santucci's abandoned car. They also got a tip from another local police department naming Santucci as a person of interest. Just over a week later, the 23-year-old was in handcuffs in Hillsborough County for his probation violation.

When a reporter asked Bond on Monday why Santucci was in Florida, he responded: "Trying to get away from Delaware."

Police wouldn't specify what ties Santucci may have to Florida. Tampa police spokesman Eddy Durkin said the department's fugitive apprehension unit worked closely with the U.S. Marshal's fugitive task force in arresting him.

He was held in Hillsborough County Jail until May 1. Shortly after he was transferred back to Delaware, police charged him with first-degree attempted murder, first-degree kidnapping, unlawful sexual contact with a person under 13 years old, and possession of child pornography.

The child pornography charge was unrelated to the April 6 attack, police said.

Bond said police were releasing few specifics about the investigation and were focused on building a strong case to ensure Santucci is prosecuted.

Santucci was given a cash-only $1.75 million bail, which he failed to meet.

Contact Sara DiNatale at [email protected] Follow @sara_dinatale.

Comments
Search continues for missing diver at Eagle’s Nest in Hernando

Search continues for missing diver at Eagle’s Nest in Hernando

WEEKI WACHEE — Rescue crews will continue to search Thursday morning for a diver who failed to resurface at a dangerous cave in Hernando County.The unidentified diver was free-diving at Eagle’s Nest, meaning he was not carrying oxygen, sometime befor...
Updated: 20 minutes ago

Deputies: Masked shooter wounds Dunedin woman in home invasion

DUNEDIN — Deputies are searching for a black-clad gunman who shot and wounded an 18-year-old woman during a home invasion attack Wednesday, according to the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office.The shooting was reported at about 1:03 p.m. at 1144 New Yor...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Hernando deputies: Cave diver fails to resurface at the Eagle’s Nest

Hernando deputies: Cave diver fails to resurface at the Eagle’s Nest

WEEKI WACHEE — A diver exploring the Eagle’s Nest, a notoriously dangerous underwater cave, failed to resurface from a Wednesday night dive, according to the Hernando County Sheriff’s Office.The person was free diving, according to the Sheriff’s Offi...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Pinellas deputies: Man charged with pregnant woman’s murder injures jail inmate

Pinellas deputies: Man charged with pregnant woman’s murder injures jail inmate

LARGO — The man accused of fatally shooting a pregnant woman while she was riding home from church with her family last year now faces allegations that he assaulted a jail inmate who has since died.Charles G. Allen Jr., 41, already faces two counts o...
Published: 07/18/18
Video shows a Polk County store clerk shooting a man who was stealing Natural Ice beer

Video shows a Polk County store clerk shooting a man who was stealing Natural Ice beer

A Lakeland convenience store clerk has been charged with attempted second-degree murder after he chased and shot a man who walked out with $36 worth of Natural Ice beer.Mehedeun Hasan, 22, and his father Q M Monsur Rahman, 61, were behind the counter...
Published: 07/18/18
‘Rather die first’: Gibsonton man shot by deputies didn’t want to be without his estranged wife, Facebook posts show

‘Rather die first’: Gibsonton man shot by deputies didn’t want to be without his estranged wife, Facebook posts show

RIVERVIEW — Tim Braun took to Facebook early Friday morning to tell the world, or at least friends, how determined he was save his marriage."Will not give up on my wife," he typed in black letters on a light green pattern of stylized cats. "Rather di...
Published: 07/18/18
These men were promised anonymous sex. They wound up on a porn site instead.

These men were promised anonymous sex. They wound up on a porn site instead.

The men thought they were going to a South Miami-Dade house for a casual and clandestine tryst with a bored housewife.Once there, the men agreed to be blindfolded, and for sex acts to be performed on them. What the victims did not know, federal agent...
Published: 07/18/18
Fourth victim recovered after planes from troubled flight school crash in Everglades

Fourth victim recovered after planes from troubled flight school crash in Everglades

As investigators continued to scour the Everglades Wednesday morning in the aftermath of Tuesday’s mid-air collision between two small aircraft, police said they recovered a fourth body.By mid-morning, the body had not yet been identified."Homicide i...
Published: 07/18/18
Lakeland teen, 15, killed in Dade City crash

Lakeland teen, 15, killed in Dade City crash

DADE CITY — A Lakeland teen was killed Tuesday night and a Lake Wales teen was critically injured in a crash on U.S. 301.According to the Florida Highway Patrol, 17-year-old Abigail Nicole Trammel, of Lake Wales, was driving a 2002 Ford Explorer west...
Published: 07/18/18
Spring Hill man killed in Hernando motorcycle crash

Spring Hill man killed in Hernando motorcycle crash

SPRING HILL — A Spring Hill man was killed Tuesday after the motorcycle he was riding was struck by another vehicle, the Florida Highway Patrol said.According to an FHP release, Michael Lucian Deleon, 26, was riding a 2001 GSX 1000 north on U.S. 19 a...
Published: 07/18/18