Man charged with kidnapping teen with special needs from mobile home park in Ocala

James Dyess

Levy County sheriff’s deputies have arrested a suspect on a Marion County warrant charging him in the kidnapping of a 17-year-old girl from the Westwood Mobile Home Park in Ocala.

A witness saw that the girl, who has special needs, on Tuesday was in James Wesley Dyess’ van with him at the mobile home park and that he was kissing her on the neck. When witnesses were trying to find the child’s mother to tell her what was going on, Dyess drove away with the victim still in his vehicle. Dyess took the victim to a nearby retail store’s parking lot and attempted to molest her inside his van, according to the Marion County Sheriff’s Office.

Witnesses then began driving around looking for Dyess and the teen, and found them in his van in the store’s parking lot. The witnesses told the child to get out of the van, which she did, and Dyess fled the scene. Law enforcement was then notified.

Dyess was located and arrested by the Levy County Sheriff’s Office at a residence within their jurisdiction Wednesday evening. He is currently being held in the Levy County Jail on MCSO’s warrants for kidnapping and simple battery, and is awaiting transportation back to Marion County.

Detectives would like to encourage the public to come forward with any information they may have regarding suspicious activity between Dyess and children that they may be aware of. If you have any information on any other incidents like this involving Dyess,  contact Det. Frank Scala at (352) 368-3548.

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