Wanted Osceola sex offender's business associate helped him flee country, cops say
Updated On: Apr 18 2014 12:05:19 AM EDT
An accused child molester is behind bars, after a year-long manhunt that ended by chance, when drug agents working an unrelated case discovered him in the Bahamas.
Justice may finally come for Loomes Wheeler's alleged victims.
Wheeler, who was wanted in Osceola County since September 2013, was located on the Exuma Islands in the Bahamas on Monday and is being booked into the Osceola County jail on Thursday.
Wheeler said he was not on the run, saying instead, "I needed a vacation," and that he spent the months away "fishing."
Two young girls said the 70-year-old raped them at his home and at the stables where he worked in Kissimmee.
After his arrest, deputies said Wheeler ran with help from Patrice Smith Bullard. U.S. Marshals arrested her Thursday as she tried flying out to the Bahamas to escape the charges she now faces.
Deputies said Bullard drove Wheeler to a hotel in Miami and helped him take a boat to the Bahamas to hide out with her ex-husband.
Wheeler was only caught because Drug Enforcement Agency agents busted the ex-husband's house during another investigation.
Wheeler told Local 6 nobody helped him get to the Bahamas but had no further statements before he was hauled away to jail.
Twis Lizasuain, with the Osceola County Sheriff's Office, said of the alleged victims, "We hope that they have some relief in knowing that he is going stand trial for his charges."
When asked if he has anything to say to the victims, Wheeler said, "What victims?"
Wheeler remains in jail without bond. He is not cooperating with the investigation and he refused to talk with detectives.