Fla. Man Accused of Kidnapping, Sexually Assaulting 10-Year-Old Girl Found Wearing Dog Collar
Authorities described Jonathan Diaz Fundora, 23, as a "monster" and a "horrible creature"
A 23-year-old man has been detained on a range of criminal charges in Florida after allegedly driving more than four hours to kidnap and sexually assault a 10-year-old girl who was found cowering in a hotel bathroom with a pink dog collar around her neck, PEOPLE confirms.
During a news conference held earlier this week, Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd described Jonathan Diaz Fundora as a “monster,” a “horrible creature” and “the poster child for why it is critical that parents monitor their children’s activities online.”
Fundora was arrested on Tuesday inside a Motel 6 in Lakeland and has been formally charged with kidnapping, sexual battery by a suspect over 18 on a victim under 12 and traveling to meet a minor.
In addition, he faces five counts of possession of child pornography, three counts of directing the sexual performance of a child and two counts of use of a computer to seduce a child.
It was unclear Friday if Fundora had entered a plea to the charges against him or if he has an attorney who could comment on his behalf.
Sheriff Judd said Fundora is being held without bond and the girl is undergoing counseling.
According to Judd, investigators suspect Fundora spent six weeks grooming his underage victim, who he’d met through an online app just days after her 10th birthday. Judd told reporters Fundora allegedly convinced the girl to send him images and videos of her performing sex acts.
He said that Fundora, who manages a Burger King in Miami, took three days off to make the trip to Lakeland. He had allegedly arranged to meet the girl at the end of her street, where he picked her up in his car.
Law enforcement was notified the victim was missing after a note was found on her bed, saying she would be staying at a friend’s house for the next three days.
Investigators examined her electronic devices and discovered disturbing exchanges she’d allegedly had with Fundora, Judd said. They located the license plate number of Fundora’s car in a picture he posted online and officers were dispatched to every hotel in the immediate area.
Officers located Fundora’s vehicle at the Motel 6 and found him in his room with the victim “hiding” and partially dressed in the bathroom, Judd said.
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“I commend our patrol deputies for catching him in the act of sexually abusing a child and I shudder to think of what the other horrible consequences would have been had her parents not immediately reported her missing,” said Judd, noting Fundora was apprehended 35 minutes after authorities were first notified. “We will do everything in our power to ensure he spends the rest of his life behind bars.”
Judd said that Fundora allegedly acknowledged picking up the girl and having sex with her but told officers, “I thought she was 14 or 15.” However, Judd said, the password to Fundora’s computer was allegedly the girl’s age.
“You must know what electronic devices your children are on,” Judd urged at the news conference this week. “You must monitor all of their activity because there are monsters like this … and he drove from Miami to attack her.”
More charges could be filed against Fundora, Judd said, as investigators are still combing through his electronic devices.
Judd said that Fundora asked detectives if they could give him a ride back to his vehicle after he left jail, presumably once the criminal investigation was quickly resolved.
“It’s like, Dude — you’re never going to need a car again,” Judd said. “You’re going to go to state prison for the rest of your life. … He has no idea the gravity of this situation.”