OSCEOLA COUNTY, Fla. - An accused child molester who investigators said spent months hiding out in the Bahamas faced a judge Friday morning in Osceola County.
Loomes Wheeler Jr. was booked into the Osceola County Jail Thursday night after being extradited back to the county.
Once back in Osceola County, Wheeler told Channel 9, "I'm not guilty."
He also said he was “on vacation” during his stay, and was there so he could “go fishing.”
Wheeler appeared in court alongside his former business associate, who is accused of helping him flee to the Bahamas.
Patrice Smith Bullard is accused of helping him leave the country after Wheeler cut off his GPS monitor in September and provided him with a few names and phone numbers of individuals she knew in the Bahamas, authorities said.
One of the names was Bullard's ex-husband, whom Wheeler was with when he was arrested, authorities said.
Wheeler is accused of molesting two relatives when they were children. His run from the law ended during a drug investigation when investigators took him into custody without immediately knowing who he was.
DEA agents were in the midst of an unrelated marijuana investigation in Exuma, southeast of Nassau, when they stumbled across the 70-year-old Wheeler, Osceola County authorities said.
Both Wheeler and Bullard are being held without bond.
The judge said Friday Wheeler will face 16 charges.
He did not complete an application in time for a public defender, so he was appointed one temporarily.
Bullard is charged with accessory after the fact.
WFTV spoke to a man who said Bullard was his real estate broker and helped him get a house in Kissimmee.
But after Pedro Mont gave her a $33,000 deposit, she allegedly gave the house to Wheeler.
“I don’t know what kind of scam she did. She put it under his name, the house, so then I had to get an attorney and that took about three years and $40,000,” Mont said.
Mont said the judge finally have him the house after Wheeler allegedly fled to the Bahamas.
WFTV found no record of Bullard being a real estate broker.