Man accused of attempted sexual battery on Barefoot Beach still on the loose

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Rendering of sexual assault suspect at Barefoot Beach. Credit: Collier County Sheriff’s Office.

The Collier County Sheriff’s Office released a sketch of a man accused of attempted sexual battery of a woman at Barefoot Beach Preserve six days after the victim reported it.

The biggest question readers are asking is why did it take so long for law enforcement to let people know what happened, especially since this suspect is still out there, and could attack again.

Beachgoers like Georgianne Broughton don’t understand the delay, “It’s very frightening, it’s very frightening. I think the community should’ve been notified much sooner.”

CCSO said they put out information as soon as evidence and information about the case was available. When they became aware of what happened, deputies also stepped up patrols in the area.

However, others like visitor Faith Thomason say waiting to put out information helps avoid unnecessary fear, “They needed to investigate it first to make sure it was something viable to be sent out to the public in my opinion.”

Professor of forensics at Florida Gulf Coast University Dr. David Thomas says usually agencies put out whatever information they have for public safety, to get more witnesses, and to keep people informed, then keep adding to it as they get more, “Based on the information they had, which was very little, I think could’ve put the information out the day they got it unless there’s something else going on in that background that we know nothing about.”

“That’s something that the sheriffs office needs to explain or they need to address,” Dr. Thomas added.

The Collier County Sheriff’s Office says more patrols have been added here since that incident and encourage anyone who might recognize the suspect to come forward.

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