TAMPA — Even though he made a clean escape from the Falkenburg Road Jail, Raymond W. Marston Jr., 50, just couldn't stay away from the Town 'N Country area he used to call home.
Deputies apprehended him at 4:08 p.m. Thursday in a wooded area near Sheldon and Mohr roads, according to Dennis Aherns, communications supervisor for the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office.
Marston had escaped Sunday night after faking a heart attack and giving the slip to a deputy who left him unattended momentarily to check on whether his escort was coming.
Detectives think Marston climbed a drain pipe, finessed the razor wire on the roof and made his escape through a jail construction site.
Deputies caught up with him only yards from the scene of the crime he was suspected of committing in the first place.
On May 26, a man confronted a 21-year-old woman as she walked down Sheldon Road on her way home from work. He hit her in the face eight or nine times, covered her head with his T-shirt and made her crawl along a bridge walkway, deputies said. The man sexually assaulted her, threatened to kill her and stole money out of her purse.
Picked up the next day on a trespassing charge, Marston fit the description of the robber, so his DNA was sent to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement for examination. In June, the FDLE said the sample matched the rapist's.
Sunday's escape was the second time Marston had slipped out of the hands of his jailers. He made a similar run in 1982 after being picked up for robbery, and managed to stay on the run just two days that time. After word of his latest escape got out, people who knew him from the homeless camp in the area said they've been living in fear.
"We've got girlfriends, sisters, mothers and nieces in this area," said Jack Jackson, 40. "We didn't want a rapist out on the streets."
Jackson and his brother, Randall, 47, had been sitting behind the Latin Mini-Mart on Sheldon Road and Jackson Springs Road when they saw Marston riding a bike away from the store.
Jack Jackson, who's currently living in the homeless camp, used his brother's cell phone to call 911 at 1:13 p.m.
"I'm just glad that we helped catch him," he said. "I don't know if he did what they say he did, but he escaped from jail and I didn't want him out here."
Deputies converged in full force, with canine units and a helicopter help from Tampa police, Maj. Albert Frost said.
"There were at least 60 deputies out here," Frost said. "We came out and secured the area. We didn't stop traffic, but anything moving I knew what was in it."
Then the search was on and five schools in the area went on lockdown as a precaution.
Bay Crest Elementary, Davis Elementary, Dickenson Elementary, Incarnation Catholic School and Berkeley Prep were told to keep students inside unless their parents came to retrieve them, Frost said.
The public schools delayed the regular 2:15 p.m. dismissal for car or bus riders about 10 minutes and kept students who walked home until about 3:15 p.m., school district spokeswoman Linda Cobbe said. Parents whose children were held at the school were called.
Incarnation Catholic School at 5111 Webb Road dismissed students at 3:45 p.m.
Jack Jackson said Marston has a girlfriend who lives in the area, and he saw her with deputies after the arrest.
Debbie Carter, a spokeswoman for the Sheriff's Office, said that no other arrests have been made in the case.
Marston worked with Randall Jackson for a time doing odd jobs because they could not find steady work, Jackson said.
Jack Jackson said Marston never did drugs or drank until after his mother died a few years ago.
Robbyn Mitchell can be reached at (813) 226-3373 or firstname.lastname@example.org.