Kidnapping victim escapes from suspect in Seffner after months of abuse: 'Reign of violent terror is now over'

A man with a violent criminal history has been arrested again after deputies say he kidnapped a woman in January, physically abused her, forcibly dragged her around the Bay Area and threatened to kill her if she tried to escape or get help.

According to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office, the victim met Walter Medina, 48, in January while she was panhandling in the area of Hillsborough Avenue and Habana Avenue. 

Deputies say in the beginning, Medina gave her food and drugs, but he turned violent and physically abused her relentlessly and kept her captive for months.

For two-and-a-half months, investigators say the victim endured unimaginable suffering at the hands of Medina.

He used a wooden baseball bat and a flathead screwdriver to assault the victim repeatedly, breaking her ribs, causing deep puncture wounds as well as extensive bruising, according to HCSO.


On Monday, deputies were sent to a Mobil gas station after a caller said an injured woman had just escaped from a van and needed help. According to deputies, the victim escaped when Medina briefly left her unattended at Walgreens. 

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Deputies say when they arrived, they saw several injuries to the victim’s face and body. She was taken to an area hospital for medical treatment. 

"I can’t imagine the torture this victim endured for months, but I can imagine the relief she felt when our deputies arrived," said Sheriff Chad Chronister. "I have to commend the bravery of the victim for escaping her captor and seeking help. Our thoughts are with her as she recovers from this traumatic ordeal."

Walter Medina was arrested after leading law enforcement officers on a chase in Polk County.

Walter Medina was arrested after leading law enforcement officers on a chase in Polk County. 

HCSO detectives got an arrest warrant for Medina for attempted second-degree murder, armed kidnapping, armed false imprisonment, aggravated battery with great bodily harm, tampering with a witness, and tampering with physical evidence.

On Tuesday, Medina was arrested after leading law enforcement officers with the Polk County Sheriff’s Office, the Lakeland Police Department and the Florida Highway Patrol on a chase.

"This suspect's reign of violent terror is now over," said Sheriff Chad Chronister. "I am endlessly grateful for our law enforcement partners who put their lives on the line in service and protection of our community while apprehending this suspect. This joint effort exemplifies the strength of our community's law enforcement network and our shared commitment to keeping our streets safe."

Medina has served time in prison for a previous false imprisonment case and has an arrest history including kidnapping, aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer, and robbery.

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