Sheriff: Florida deputy tried to kill woman he had been defrauding
SARASOTA, Fla. — Authorities say a sheriff’s deputy in southwest Florida tried to kill a woman he had been defrauding.
Sarasota County Sheriff Tom Knight told reporters that Deputy Frankie Bybee had befriended the victim, a 79-year-old Sarasota woman, while responding to a service call in October.
The 46-year-old is being held at the county jail on bonds totaling over $1 million.
Knight said when the woman entrusted Bybee with her dog, the deputy sold the dog through Craigslist.
Knight said Bybee was placed on administrative leave earlier this month after the deputy’s fingerprint was found on checks totaling $65,000 that the victim said had been fraudulently signed.
“His actions are a disgrace, not only to our agency but to law enforcement professionals everywhere,” Knight said.
Days later, Knight said Bybee attempted to kill the woman and make it look like a suicide.
On Jan. 12, the woman contacted the sheriff’s office, claiming that Bybee had entered her home wearing dark clothing and blue latex gloves and tried to kill her.
“Bybee mounted the victim and, while holding her down, forced prescription medication in her mouth,” Knight said.
Bybee allegedly then tried to cover up her death by leaving the door from her house to the garage open with the car running, fulling the home with carbon monoxide.
The woman sustained lacerations and abrasions to her face and bruising to her body, according the sheriff’s office.
“She said the man tried to kill her,” the woman’s neighbor, Chalyce Sullivan, told Tampa’s WTSP News. “She’s a nice person [and] doesn’t deserve that.”
Bybee was held without bail on attempted murder and other charges. Jail records didn’t show whether he had an attorney.
Authorities say they’ve since located the woman’s dog and reunited her with it.
According to the Sarasota Herald-Tribune, Bybee has been investigated by the sheriff’s office five times since he was hired in 1998. Prior to this latest case, the most recent instance was in 2015, when Bybee was accused of making a false statement to his supervisors. He was found guilty of that charge and demoted from the detective bureau to the patrol division.