SARASOTA COUNTY, FL (WFLA) – An 18-year veteran of the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office has been arrested on numerous charges, including attempted murder.
Sheriff Knight said allegations that Frankie Eugene Bybee, 46, was harassing a 79-year old woman led to an investigation into the deputies actions.
Sheriff Knight asserted Bybee took care of the elderly woman’s dog, visited her in the hospital and introduced her to his family – all in an effort to gain her trust.
“His actions are a disgrace not only to this agency, but to the law enforcement profession,” said Sarasota County Sheriff Tom Knight.
The initial reports began on December 20, 2016 with the woman claiming the deputy was supposed to be watching her dog while she was ill and in the hospital. Instead, the deputy is accused of selling the dog on Craigslist.
According to arrest affidavits, on January 9, four checks were written to Deputy Bybee in the victim’s name. Investigators said, the former deputy is accused of stealing checks from the victim’s house and writing them to himself and his children in the amount of $65-thousand.
Officials found Bybee’s fingerprint on one of the checks.
Three days later, on January 12, the victim told officials Bybee entered her home through an unlocked door. The victim said Bybee was dressed in dark clothes and wearing latex gloves.
According to the arrest affidavit, Bybee was agitated with the elderly woman for filing an initial complaint with the sheriff’s office.
The victim told officials the suspect “grabbed her face with his gloved hands and pressed hard against her causing her to bleed from her mouth,” the affidavit stated.
The victim stated Bybee tried to forced a handful of unknown pills into her mouth while placing his knee in her pelvis before trying to “force” the victim to take her own tranquilizer medication that was used to help her sleep, the document stated.
The victim lost consciousness for a period of time before regaining consciousness and noticing her kitchen door ajar to her garage, her car running and the house filling with carbon monoxide.
“It is beyond unacceptable that an individual who works in a position of trust and guardianship to their community, is capable of such heinous crimes. His actions are a disgrace not only to our agency. but to law enforcement professionals everywhere,” said Sheriff Tom Knight.
Following an investigation, the sheriff’s office charged Bybee with attempted murder, exploitation of an elderly person, grand theft, forgery, burglary.
“I hope he gets prosecuted a little bit more exceptionally than a normal criminal because he used the uniform for public trust,” said Sheriff Knight.
Neighbors describe the woman as very kind. They say she lived alone and adored her dog. They did notice that Bybee frequently visited her home.
“One day, back the next. Went back again. On a regular basis, which was unusual,” said Joe Glickman.
“We thought somebody had tried to rob her or something,” said his wife, Norma Glickman.
Neighbor Chalyce Sullivan said the victim is very vulnerable.
“This is a shame that somebody in power would take advantage of his position,” said Sullivan.
“Its despicable…It’s just the old adage when they’re in power they seem to think they can do whatever they want to do,” Sullivan added.
Bybee was booked at the Sarasota County Jail on more than $1 million bond. He will be arraigned Feb. 24.