Flagler County, FL
- Flagler County Sheriff Rick Staly held a press conference on Monday to let the public know a suspected pedophile's behind bars... but there may be more victims out there.
William Walsh, 52, of Bunnell was arrested on Friday, February 17, and charged with felony child abuse after being identified as the suspect in a January 31 incident at the intersection of SR-100 and McCormick Dr, near the Madison Green apartments in Palm Coast. He was riding his bike on the sidewalk when he allegedly passed a young girl and slapped her on the buttocks. No arrest was made in that case, but on Friday a parent whose kid rides a bus that stops at that same intersection (SR-100 and McCormick Dr) told deputies that an unknown man approached her daughter and tried to lure her away with a drawing of a lost dog.
Deputies interviewed other kids at the bus stop and got a good description of the man - white, in his late 40s, scruffy beard, 5'11" to 5'6" tall, usually wearing a baseball cap.
Deputies searched the area around the bus stop later on Friday and spotted Walsh. He was riding his bike toward the apartment complex but turned around when he saw a deputy. The deputy stopped the 52-year-old, who said he was headed home - but Walsh lives in Bunnell, not at the Palm Coast apartment complex.
Walsh had 2 plastic bags on his bike with 3 pairs of girls' underwear inside. Deputies searched him and found he was also wearing a pair of girls' underwear. He was arrested and is being held at the Flagler County jail on $5,000 bail.
"This is a classic example of how child pedophiles start," Sheriff Staly said. He's concerned that there may be other victims out there who are afraid to report similar incidents to their parents. FCSO encourages parents to talk to their children and show them Walsh's photo. They want parents to look for signs to see if their children recognize the man and ask if they've had any contact with him. "In these kinds of cases, it's rare to get caught the first or second time. It wouldn't surprise me if there are more victims, although we hope there are none," Staly said.
Anyone with additional information about these cases or Walsh is asked to call the Sheriff's Office at (386) 313-4911.
Photos courtesy FCSO.
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