NEWS RELEASE #: 17-034 - FEBRUARY 7, 2017
The Sarasota County Sheriff's Office charged Frankie Eugene Bybee Monday evening in connection with the ongoing investigation into allegations of Bybee's harassment and exploitation of a 79-year-old Sarasota woman.
Bybee's actions were first called into question on December 20, 2016, after the elderly victim disclosed to deputies that she was being harassed and taken advantage of by Bybee, who was employed as a deputy at the time. On January 23, 2017, detectives arrested Bybee and charged him with Attempted Murder, Battery on a Victim 65 Years of Older, Burglary of an Occupied Dwelling, Exploitation of the Elderly, two counts of Grand Theft, Forgery and misdemeanor Petit Theft. On January 30, an Internal Affairs (IA) investigation was launched to further address Bybee's inappropriate conduct both on- and off-duty. On January 31, Bybee was officially terminated from the sheriff's office. His arrest and employment status were shared with the public as a means to identify other potential victims.
Information gathered during the ongoing criminal investigation revealed that an email containing suicidal implications was delivered to the victim's primary care doctor from the victim's email address as if it came from her, on December 28, 2016. When medical staff received the email, they alerted law enforcement who responded to the victim's home and initiated an involuntary commitment for evaluation. The victim later told detectives she never authored the email and upon forensic analysis, detectives learned that the email originated from an IP address assigned to Bybee's residence in Manatee County. As such, detectives determined that Bybee wrote the email which ultimately led to the victim's wrongful involuntary commitment to a treatment facility.
As the criminal investigation continued, on January 27, 2017, investigators were contacted by a woman who indicated she and Bybee engaged in an illicit sexual relationship over the course of several years. The IA investigation began on January 30, 2017, and revealed that Bybee maintained a relationship with the woman and accepted more than $100,000 for performing sexual acts. At the conclusion of the IA investigation, Bybee's actions were found to be in violation of the following disciplinary standards set by the sheriff's office; Conduct Unbecoming, Conformance with Laws and Moral Character.
On January 30, 2017, detectives were contacted by an online business owner out of Kentucky who sold a CR-3000 car rotisserie and accessory brackets to Bybee on December 19, 2016. Investigation revealed that Bybee used the victim's name, email address, PayPal account, and without her authorization, charged $1,080 to the victim's credit card. Detectives executed a search warrant on Bybee's home on January 31, where they seized the fraudulently purchased rotisserie and accessory brackets and collected both as evidence.
Further investigation into the victim's financial records revealed that Bybee made at least 12 other unauthorized withdrawals from her bank account using the victim's credit/debit card at local convenience, grocery and drug stores throughout Sarasota and Manatee counties, in November and December 2016. When detectives questioned Bybee, he denied having access to the victim's finances. Video surveillance obtained from several of the stores shows Bybee enter the business, approach the ATM, and exit with $400 cash in hand. A few of the videos have been added to the sheriff's office YouTube channel and are viewable at YouTube.com/SarasotaSheriff.
On February 7, during a bond hearing, a judge reduced Bybee's bond from $1,030,000 to $365,620 based on charges from his January 23rd arrest. At a first appearance later that day to address 10 counts of Criminal Use of Personal Identification and a single count of Accessing a Computer or Electronic Device without Authority, the judge set Bybee's bond at $5,500. The investigation remains open and ongoing with additional charges pending.