OSCEOLA COUNTY, Fla. - A man accused of child molestation
who allegedly cut off his GPS monitor and fled in September, been brought back to Osceola County.
Loomes Wheeler Jr. was arrested over the weekend in the Bahamas.
His former business associate was arrested Thursday on charges of accessory after the fact, said investigators.
During the search for Wheeler, detectives said they obtained information that his former business associate, Patrice Smith Bullard, helped him leave the country and provided him with a few names and phone numbers of individuals she knew in the Bahamas.
One of the names was Bullard's ex-husband, with whom Wheeler was with when he was arrested, authorities said.
Wheeler told Drug Enforcement Administration agents that Bullard assisted him with leaving Osceola County by driving him to Miami and providing him a hotel room until an unknown man took him by boat to the Bahamas.
"The hard part is not skipping bond, the hard part is staying under the radar and living the rest of your life looking over your shoulder," said WFTV legal analyst Bill Sheaffer.
On April 15, authorities said Bullard was brought in for questioning and provided inconsistent statements to investigators. Based on the information, a felony warrant was obtained for her arrest.
On April 17, with the assistance of the U.S. Marshal's Service, Bullard was found in Ft. Lauderdale, attempting to take a flight to the Bahamas.
Bullard was arrested and is being brought back to Osceola County, where she will be booked into the Osceola County Jail, authorities said.
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.
Wheeler is the owner of Horse World in Osceola County and was accused of molesting at least two young children.
Channel 9 obtained Wheeler's mug shot from the Bahamian jail, which shows him with a beard and dyed hair. The photo is a much different look than when Wheeler was arrested in Osceola County last year.
When Wheeler is back in Osceola County, detectives said they'll work to find out how he hid for so long and if anyone else helped him escape to the Bahamas.
"He’s currently in custody and being brought back to Osceola County," said Twis Lizasuain with the Osceola County Sheriff’s Office.
Deputies said Wheeler gave them false information about who he was.
"Initially, he provided false information to them, and they were not able to verify his identity," Lizasuain said.
Deputies said he eventually revealed his identity.
Authorities said after he's questioned at the Sheriff's Office, Wheeler will be taken to the Osceola County Jail, where he'll likely be held without bail.
The Bahamas only has a population of 320,000
, and Wheeler most likely would have stuck out because only 5 percent of the population is white, but the country is made up of 700 islands.