Deputies: Marion County man says sexually battering girl, 8, was 'part of his culture'

by: WFTV Web Staff Updated:

MARION COUNTY, Fla. - A Marion County man accused of sexually battering an 8-year-old girl has been arrested, deputies said.

Sydney Allan Markland, 68, also known as Dread is accused of luring the girl into his home in July 2016 and assaulting her, deputies said. He asked the girl to help him put food in the house because he had an injured leg, deputies said.

The girl said Markland lives in her neighborhood at Bahia Loop in Ocala and she said she knew him only in passing, deputies said.

DNA samples from victim’s clothing tied Markland to the crime, deputies said.

Markland told detectives that the girl was dressed provocatively and her actions suggested that she was consenting to sexual contact, deputies said. Markland told detectives that his culture is different and that his actions were acceptable.

Detectives believe that Markland might have sexually battered other children because he admitted to being familiar with other children in the neighborhood, investigators said.

Eyewitness News asked deputies why it took 10 months for them to arrest Markland.

"Well, we have a case where a 68-year-old lured an 8-year-old into his house and then he sexually battered her. I know that's a really big concern for everybody looking at the time difference in this case. With a case like this, we have to be very solid with our evidence," said Lauren Lettelier, with the Marion County Sheriff's Office.

Investigators said they only had a partial DNA match and needed time to build a strong case.

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Markland is being held without bail.

Anyone with information about other possible victims about Markland is asked to call Detective Daniel Pinder at 352-368-3508. To remain anonymous, contact Crime Stoppers of Marion County at 352-368-STOP.