FLAGLER COUNTY, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35) - The Flagler County Sheriff’s Office says it’s concerned that a man recently arrested for child abuse may have had contact with other kids.
Investigators say 52-year-old William Walsh of Bunnell was riding his bike near the intersection of State Highway 100 and McCormick Drive when he went up to a 14-year-old girl walking down the sidewalk and slapped her on the buttocks.
Deputies say it happened in late January but Walsh didn’t become a suspect until Friday.
According to court documents, that’s when the parent of an 8-year-old girl who was at a bus stop at the same intersection contacted deputies about a man asking the child for help finding his dog.
“This pervert then showed a picture of a dog to a child,” said Flagler County Sheriff Rick Staly.
Staly says deputies staked out the area and spotted Walsh near the bus stop on his bike. The sheriff says when they stopped him, he was wearing girl’s underwear and that he had more kid’s underwear with him.
“We also found where he had purchased some recently and it was on his bicycle in a bag,” Staly explained.
Deputies say the 14-year-old girl identified Walsh as the man who slapped her. Now investigators say they want to know if he’s had contact with other kids.
“We are concerned that there may be other victims out there,” Staly said.
Neighbors say the situation is a wakeup call.
“Like the saying goes, it takes a village to raise a kid so I think we all have to be a little more mindful that these things can happen anytime or anywhere,” said Sylvester Kirk, who lives near the bus stop.
According to court documents, Walsh denied speaking with children at the bus stop and smacking the teen.