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16-year-old arrested for kidnapping, attempted sexual battery, accused of grabbing women in Jupiter

Posted at 11:51 AM, Aug 22, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-22 19:46:26-04

JUPITER, Fla. — JUPITER, Fla. — A Jupiter neighborhood in shock following a summer of reported assaults.

Jupiter police say an underage teen has been arrested for felony kidnapping and attempted sexual battery after grabbing multiple women.

According to a news release from the Jupiter Police Department, a 16-year-old boy targeted females in the area of Pennock Lane and Toney Penna Drive.

Police said the attacks happened to three different women on June 6, July 30, and Aug. 12.

“Be aware,” said Amy McGowen, who used the power of social media to help bring awareness to the assaults. “Sometimes it can be used for good things.”

The longtime Jupiter local says she knows one of the victims of the predator police were looking for.

So she shared her story on Facebook to warn others.

“She was walking the dogs and the man grabbed her, didn’t rape her but did molest her,” she wrote in the post.

McGowen said it’s her way of trying to make other women aware of their surroundings.

“Just really hits home like that,” she said. “If I can help even just one person.”

Her post was shared over 230 times in less than one day until the arrest. Some shared tips and advice for staying safe. Others posted about free self-defense classes.

“Everybody’s just really upset. Tis shouldn’t be happening,” she said. “It’s upsetting that you can’t just go out and be in public and walk your dogs at 7 o' clock at night.”

The area where the assaults occurred is the same area where Tami Hall walks her dog Diesel.

“Yes, he is my protector," she said. “I feel very safe in the this neighborhood, it’s a neighborhood I grew up in.”

She said she walks on the trail often and did not know about the incidents.

"It’s not something you think about when you’re taking a walk with your dog," she said. “To not know it’s happening is a little disturbing.”

At this time, WPTV is not naming the suspect because of his age. He’s charged with felony kidnapping and attempted sexual battery.

Jupiter Police say this incident is reminder for people to vigilant while out on the trails, no matter the time of day.

“Pay attention to what’s going on around you,” said Officer O’Neil Anderson.

Officer Anderson advised for people not to walk in the dark alone. Even if going out during the day, find a partner or someone to accompany them on a walk or any outdoor activities.

“And obviously if you see something say something, that’s something we try to echo every day in the community,” he said.

Jupiter police said they did not release information about this case prior to the suspect’s arrest because it was an active and ongoing investigation.

If you have any information about him or feel you were victimized, call Detective Andrew Sharp at 561-741-2357.