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WFLA-Ch. 8 morning anchor Marco Villarreal accused of battering pregnant woman

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TAMPA — A morning news anchor for WFLA-Ch. 8 was arrested Sunday night on a charge of aggravated battery on a pregnant woman, according to jail records and the TV station.

Tampa police officers arrested Marco Villarreal, 37, at his home in the Cory Lake Isles neighborhood at about 7:42 p.m. and booked him into the Hillsborough County jail.

According to an arrest report, Villarreal tried to kiss the woman, who is six months pregnant, while she was trying to make dinner and refused his advances. Villarreal became angry and when the woman walked away, he slammed her against a wall, the report says.

The woman, whose relationship to Villarreal is not included in a redacted report obtained by the Times, was "visibly upset" but did not complain of any injuries and denied medical treatment, according to police. Two children were also home at the time and gave statements.

Villarreal was not home when police arrived but returned to the house to speak with officers, police said. He declined to provide a written statement, police said.

Villarreal was released Monday night after posting $7,500 bail, records show.

The TV station posted a statement at its website saying Villarreal will not return to the air until the allegations have been investigated.

"WFLA morning anchor Marco Villarreal has been arrested and charged with aggravated battery," the statement said. "Villarreal will not be returning to our newscast until an investigation of the charges has concluded.

"WFLA will have no additional comment at this time."

Villarreal has worked for WFLA since December 2016. He has previously worked at WRCB-TV in Chattanooga, Tenn. and WTXL-TV in Tallahassee, according to a biography on WFLA's website.

Times staff writer Tony Marrero contributed to this report. Contact McKenna Oxenden at Follow @mack_oxenden.