A man was arrested Wednesday in Sarasota after investigators said he raped a 5-year-old girl in Bradenton, luring the child with an offer to buy candy.
Dominick Jerome Hawkins, 36, will be charged with kidnapping and capital sexual battery, the Manatee County Sheriff's Office said.
Hawkins was picked up about 2:30 p.m. Wednesday by Sarasota police outside of the Resurrection House, a homeless center at 507 Kumquat Court, investigators said.
The arrest ends a three-day manhunt that began moments after a man suspected in the assault was seen in a surveillance video attempting to board a Manatee County Area Transit bus on Monday afternoon, authorities said.
Investigators said Hawkins approached the girl, who was playing outside with another child, about noon Monday at Wayside Glen Mobile Home Park on the 5100 block of 14th Street West. Her parents were inside their trailer.
Deputies said Hawkins promised the girl candy, luring her to India Bazaar, a convenience store at 5112 14th St. W. Store surveillance video shows a man buying the girl candy. In the video, the girl appears excited about receiving the treat.
"This is something that every parent has as a nightmare," Manatee Sheriff Brad Steube said at a news conference.
Hawkins then took the girl to an unknown location - possible a vacant mobile home - near the Aloha Estates Mobile Home Park, on the 5300 block of 14th Street West, deputies said. There, the girl was held against her will, choked and sexually battered, deputies said.
The child managed to escape, run home and tell a family member, who alerted authorities, deputies said.
About 12:45 p.m., minutes after the attack, Hawkins was seen on surveillance video attempting to board a Manatee County bus to flee the area, deputies said. He was not allowed on board by the driver.
A three-day manhunt ended with the help of tips generated from Crime Stoppers that led detectives to several homeless camps in the Sarasota area, the sheriff's office said.
The sheriff's office said a Crime Stoppers tip informed investigators that the man seen in the video once lived at Wayside Glen. A witness told detectives the suspect was carrying a lunch box previously thrown away by a family that lives near homeless camps.
After questioning by Manatee deputies established probable cause, Hawkins was booked in the Sarasota County Jail, then transferred to Manatee County, authorities said. He is being held without bail.
Hawkins told detectives he bought a girl candy at the convenience store and was the man seen on video attempting to board the bus, Steube said. Hawkins refused to discuss the rape allegation, Steube said.