Caretaker accused of kidnapping intellectually challenged patient from another group home

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — 57- year- old Deborah Benita Hodge is accused of kidnapping a disabled woman as she was being transported from one facility to another.


23-year-old Dorothy Thomas used to be a patient at a group home Hodge ran out of a home in Orange County.

Thomas was removed after another patient in the group home died at Hodge’s group home in August.

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Court documents state an emergency suspension order was placed on Hodge’s group home for presenting a danger to the health, safety, or welfare of its residents. That suspension was granted by the state agency for Persons with Disabilities.

Thomas was placed in a new home in Apopka.

Apopka police said last Friday Thomas was being transported from the Quest Training Center for treatment when Hodge showed up and took her.

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Channel 9 received a statement from the center’s spokesperson after asking how Thomas was taken.

The spokesperson for the Quest Training Center sent a statement stating it believes the kidnapping was planned. They state that out of nowhere Thomas ran out the front door to a car waiting on the street. Next to the car was Hodge. Staff members tried to stop Hodge however, Hodge quickly rushed Thomas into the car and then sped off.

Hodge’s arrest documents show Hodge knew Thomas needed medication but took her without it. Police state that before the kidnapping Hodge tried to get guardianship of Thomas and was denied by a judge.

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Thomas was found in Brevard County Friday.

Hodge is facing charges for interfering with guardianship and for neglect of an adult with a disability.

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