Arrest made in alleged attempted kidnapping near Timber Creek High School

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Deputies with the Orange County Sheriff's Office have made an arrest in an attempted kidnapping.  Manuel J. Santiago, 39, is charged with attempted kidnapping and attempted sexual battery.  Authorities say he is a suspect in an incident involving a teenager outside Timber Creek High School.

Students at the school were warned in a message by their principal on Tuesday to be careful and vigilant, following reports of an alleged attempted kidnapping. "It has come to our attention by OCSO that there's a suspicious person in the area who may have attempted to kidnap a teenager," the message read.

Deputies had been on the lookout for a man on a bicycle, described as a person of interest in the case.  They said he approached to a 17-year-old girl and made sexually explicit comments.  "He grabbed her by the wrist, and she was able to break free," explained Orange County Deputy Rose Silva.

The alleged incident is said to have happened along Avalon Park South Blvd. on April 29.  According to investigators, the stranger showed up again on May 3.  "She happened to see the same exact male again across the street, and he called her over and obviously, she didn't and somebody was able to get photographs of him," Silva added.

It had some students concerned about their safety.  "I don't feel safe in my own neighborhood," said Jessica Outlaw.  Ezequiel Garcia agreed, saying it "kind of gets me mad." 

Authorities later identified the person of interest -- and later a suspect - in the case as Santiago.

"We don't know what his intentions are, but obviously, approaching a stranger and grabbing her is not a good sign," said Deputy Silva.

Santiago was expected to be booked into the Orange County Jail.

 

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