NEWS RELEASE #: 17-017 - JANUARY 23, 2017
The Sarasota County Sheriff's Office arrested Frankie Eugene Bybee, DOB 10/13/70, an 18-year sheriff's office employee, after allegations of harassment led to a criminal investigation and subsequent felony charges.
Bybee's actions were first called into question on December 20, 2016, after the 79-year-old victim reported that Bybee was harassing her. An Internal Affairs (IA) investigation quickly revealed that Bybee befriended the victim after responding to her home for a call for service on October 21, 2016. Bybee began making regular visits to the victim's home while on- and off-duty, and also introduced the victim to several members of his family.
As the investigation began, officials learned that Bybee took possession of the victim's dog while she was hospitalized and received a check for $1,000, in the event that the dog had any medical needs while the victim was away. Bybee deposited the money into his personal bank account and later told detectives that he "rehomed" the dog on Craigslist. The victim told detectives that Bybee only had permission to watch the dog while she was away and was not entitled to keep or sell it. Bybee initiated a relationship with the victim for both his personal and financial gain.
On January 9, 2017, an envelope addressed to Bybee was delivered to the agency's main office, located at 2071 Ringling Blvd., Sarasota. Within the envelope, detectives seized four checks belonging to the victim, made out to Bybee and his three children for a total of $65,000. When shown the checks, the victim stated she did not address or sign them. Bybee was immediately placed on administrative leave. A forensic analysis led latent print examiners to the discovery of Bybee's fingerprint on one of the checks.
Three days later, on January 12, patrol deputies were called to the victim's home where she reported Bybee entered her unlocked front door while wearing dark clothing and blue latex gloves. Bybee mounted the victim and while holding her down, forced prescription medication in her mouth, causing lacerations and abrasions to her face, and bruising to her body. The victim lost consciousness and when she awoke, summoned help. It was determined that her home filled with carbon monoxide after the internal door to her garage was left open and her car was left running. The investigation revealed that Bybee attempted to kill the victim and make it appear to be a suicide.
With signed arrest warrants, detectives today arrested Bybee and booked him into the Sarasota County Jail, where he faces charges of Attempted Murder, Battery on a Victim 65 Years or Older, Burglary of an Occupied Dwelling, Exploitation of the Elderly, two counts of Grand Theft, Forgery and Petit Theft. Pursuant to Florida statute and in line with the formal process that upholds the rights of sworn personnel facing disciplinary action, Bybee will also be presented with a proposed discipline of termination.
Because Bybee has been employed at the sheriff's office for more than 18 years, we urge anyone who may have been victimized, to contact the Criminal Investigations Section at 941.861.4932 or 941.861.4935. Both the internal affairs and criminal investigations into Bybee's actions will remain open.
"The community should know that the actions of Mr. Bybee are in no way reflective of the nearly 1,000 other men and women who serve the public with honor and integrity," said Sheriff Tom Knight. "It is beyond unacceptable that an individual who works in a position of trust and guardianship to their community, is capable of such heinous crimes. His actions are a disgrace not only to our agency but to law enforcement professionals everywhere. As soon as we learned of these allegations, we took quick action to begin an investigation and in moving forward, will continue to look at the totality of this case. Now that he is off our streets and behind bars, we will let the criminal justice system take its course."
On Monday morning, Sheriff Knight held a news conference immediately following Bybee's arrest. A video of the conference can be viewed on the sheriff's office YouTube channel at www.YouTube.com/SarasotaSheriff.