A veteran police officer in Florida has been arrested on charges he attempted to kill an elderly woman who he allegedly defrauded out of thousands of dollars.
The Sarasota Sheriff's Office announced the arrest of their deputy of 18 years, Frankie Bybee, on Monday at a press conference where Sheriff Tom Knight said the alleged crimes occurred after the suspect responded to a call at the victim's home back in October.
In the ensuing months, investigators claim Bybee, 46, gave away the 79-year-old victim's dog, attempted to steal $65,000 from her by forging checks, and finally made an attempt on her life as his alleged crimes began to be revealed.
Bybee's relationship with the victim allegedly began just after the house call, when cops say Bybee began making regular visits to the victim's home while on- and off-duty, and even introduced the victim to several members of his family.
After the investigation began, officials say they learned Bybee took possession of the victim's dog while she was hospitalized and received a check for $1,000, in the event that the dog had any medical needs, according to a Sarasota Sheriff's Office release.
However, Bybee allegedly deposited the check into his personal account, something the victim said he did not have permission to do.
Detectives say Bybee told them he later "rehomed" the dog on Craigslist, which the victim said he was not authorized to do.
On January 9, 2017, an envelope addressed to Bybee was delivered to the Sarasota Sheriff's Office. Inside, detectives seized four checks belonging to the victim, made out to Bybee and his three children for a total of $65,000, officials said.
When shown the checks, the victim said she did not address or sign them. Bybee was immediately placed on administrative leave. A forensic analysis led latent print examiners to the discovery of Bybee's fingerprint on one of the checks, according to the release.
Three days later, deputies responded to the victim's home where she reported that Bybee, clad in dark clothes and wearing latex gloves, entered her unlocked front door, held her down and forced prescription drugs into her mouth.
The victim lost consciousness and when she awoke, summoned help.
According to the release, police believe the victim's home filled with carbon monoxide after the internal door to her garage was left open and her car was left running. The investigation concluded Bybee attempted to kill the elderly woman and make it appear to be a suicide.
Bybee was arrested Monday and booked into the Sarasota County Jail, where he faces charges of attempted murder, battery on a victim 65 years or older, burglary of an occupied dwelling, exploitation of the elderly, two counts of grand theft, forgery and petit theft.
"The community should know that the actions of Mr. Bybee are in no way reflective of the nearly 1,000 other men and women who serve the public with honor and integrity," Sheriff Knight said.
"It is beyond unacceptable that an individual who works in a position of trust and guardianship to their community, is capable of such heinous crimes. His actions are a disgrace not only to our agency but to law enforcement professionals everywhere."
At Bybee's first court appearance, a judge set his bond to $1,033,120.00. Arraignment is scheduled for February 24.