Documents show man accused of kidnapping, beating panhandler has a long history of violence

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — Channel 9 is learning more about the man accused of beating and kidnapping a panhandler before leading law enforcement in a multi-county pursuit Tuesday.


Deputies rolled Walter Medina out in a wheelchair Wednesday where he was in front a judge for his fourth time being accused of false imprisonment.

Medina led law enforcement from Lakeland to Orlando Tuesday after investigators said he held a woman captive and beat her repeatedly in Hillsborough County.

He was hurt by a K-9 unit after he refused to get out of his vehicle when the chase ended at John Young Parkway near I-4.

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Deputies said Medina met her as she was panhandling in the Tampa area back in January, first gaining her trust by giving her food and drugs.

Deputies said he later got violent and began assaulting her with a baseball bat and a flathead screwdriver.

That torture came to an end after about two-and-a-half months when he stepped inside a Walgreens, leaving her in the van.

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Deputies said she then ran out to a gas station where someone called 911 saying that the woman had just escaped and needed help.

The sheriff’s office said the victim is being treated in a hospital for her injuries, which include broken ribs and bruises.

“What this victim was enduring was truly, truly a nightmare. Not only a physical abuse, but also mental abuse,” said Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office Chief Communications Officer Amanda Granit. “He was telling her that if she ever thought about running away if she ever thought about telling anybody what he was doing to her, that she would that he would then kill her.”

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Channel 9 dug into Medina’s Hillsborough County past where we found multiple arrests dating back to 1994. He was in and out of prison for battery, false imprisonment, domestic battery and aggravated assault.

Medina will still need to be brought back to Hillsborough County to face a judge for his charges there but it’s unclear how soon that will be.

He’s currently being held on a $16,500 bond in Orange County jail.

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