Sarasosa County Deputy Eugene Bybee charged with attempted murder, grand theft, forgery and burglary involving a 79-year-old woman.
By H. Nelson Goodson
Hispanic News Network U.S.A.
January 25, 2017
Sarasosa, Florida – On Monday, Sarasosa County Sheriff Tom Knight announced the arrest of Sarasosa County Deputy Frankie Eugene Bybee, 46, an 18-year sheriff’s office employee assigned to the Patrol Bureau, after allegations of harassment led to a criminal investigation and subsequent felony charges, according to a press release. The investigation began on December 20, 2016, and thanks to a team of dedicated detectives, the allegations were quickly and thoroughly reviewed, ultimately leading to Bybee’s arrest. Deputy Bybee was booked at the Sarasosa County jail and is facing the following charges:
• Exploitation of the Elderly
• Petit Theft – Forgery
• 2 counts of Grand Theft
• Burglary of an Occupied Dwelling
• Battery On a Victim 65 Years or Older
• Attempted Murder.
A judge set Bybee’s bond at $1,033,120.00. He is scheduled for arraignment on February 24th.
Because Bybee has been employed at the sheriff’s office for more than 18 years, both the internal affairs and criminal investigations into Bybee’s actions will remain open to allow for additional victims to come forward.
“The community should know that the actions of Mr. Bybee are in no way reflective of the nearly 1,000 other men and women who serve the public with honor and integrity,” said Sheriff Knight. “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. As soon as we learned of these allegations, we took quick action to begin an investigation and in moving forward, will continue to look at the totality of this case. Now that he is off our streets and behind bars, we will let the criminal justice system will take its course.”
According to the criminal complaint, Deputy Bybee’s actions were first called into question on December 20, 2016, after the 79-year-old woman reported that Bybee was harassing her. An Internal Affairs (IA) investigation quickly revealed that Bybee befriended the victim after responding to her home for a call for service on October 21, 2016. Bybee began making regular visits to the victim’s home while on- and off-duty, and also introduced the victim to several members of his family.
As the investigation began, officials learned that Bybee took possession of the victim’s dog while she was hospitalized and received a check for $1,000, in the event that the dog had any medical needs while the victim was away. Bybee deposited the money into his personal bank account and later told detectives that he “rehomed” the dog on Craigslist. The victim told detectives that Bybee only had permission to watch the dog while she was away and was not entitled to keep or sell it. Bybee initiated a relationship with the victim for both his personal and financial gain.
On January 9, 2017, an envelope addressed to Bybee was delivered to the agency’s main office, located at 2071 Ringling Blvd., Sarasota. Within the envelope, detectives seized four checks belonging to the victim, made out to Bybee and his three children for a total of $65,000. When shown the checks, the victim stated she did not address or sign them. Bybee was immediately placed on administrative leave. A forensic analysis led latent print examiners to the discovery of Bybee’s fingerprint on one of the checks.
Three days later, on January 12, patrol deputies were called to the victim’s home where she reported Bybee entered her unlocked front door while wearing dark clothing and blue latex gloves. Bybee mounted the victim and while holding her down, forced prescription medication in her mouth, causing lacerations and abrasions to her face, and bruising to her body. The victim lost consciousness and when she awoke, summoned help. It was determined that her home filled with carbon monoxide after the internal door to her garage was left open and her car was left running. The investigation revealed that Deputy Bybee attempted to kill the victim and make it appear to be a suicide.
On April 2015, Deputy Bybee filed a lawsuit against Sheriff Knight including Conley RV Inc. after he was demoted from detective, according to the Herald-Tribune. The Herald-Tribune reported, that Deputy Bybee alleged in the lawsuit that he was demoted from detective to patrol deputy in 2014 after speaking poorly of Conley RV Inc. in a TV interview concerning his RV, which was left unlucked and was damaged at Conley RV Inc. Bybee contends that Knight was contacted by the Conleys – who he claims are political supporters of Knight – and that they conspired to punish him.
“A political supporter has been vilified in the public eye with truthful information that Frank gave about how his RV was mishandled,” Bybee’s attorney, Craig Berman, told the Herald-Tribune. “That’s why (Knight) came down so hard on Frank.”
Bybee was seeking payment for damages of more than $15,000 in the civil suit filed against Knight, Jeffrey Conley, Roger Conley and Conley RV Inc., according to the Herald-Tribune report.