ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – A “brutal rapist” who reportedly mutilated a woman in central Florida has been arrested after law enforcement officials sought the public’s help to find the highly recognizable tattooed suspect, according to the Orange County Sheriff’s Office.
Bruce Whitehead, 54, who has the word “sacrifice” tattooed on his forehead, was captured Thursday morning after information from an “observant resident” led to his arrest, the sheriff’s office said in a social media post. Whitehead was wanted for raping a woman Dec. 10, FOX 35 Orlando reported.
“Brutal rapist Bruce Whitehead is in OCSO custody, thanks to a tip at 7 a.m. today from an observant resident! Whitehead raped and tried to murder a woman Dec. 10. Thank you to our community members and media partners for making sure his face was everywhere,” the sheriff’s office said on social media.
A corporal with the sheriff office’s sex crimes unit referred to Whitehead as a “monster.” He said the suspect mutilated a woman, describing it as a “particularly horrific” attack. The female victim survived and is expected to recover, after telling investigators she thought Whitehead was going to kill her, FOX reported.
According to the sheriff’s office, the arrest was made at Landstar Blvd. and Weatherbee Rd. Someone living in the Meadow Woods subdivision called in a tip to 911 and reported seeing him in the area. He was in custody 15 minutes later.
People living in the area can’t believe he was right under their noses, but the concerned citizens are relieved he’s behind bars, according to FOX 35.
“That’s really crazy,” said Nick Siviga. “It’s literally in our backyard. It’s such a nice neighborhood, nothing happens here.”
Clyde Sales said, “We don’t need that. We don’t need that anywhere. Children and families live here. He doesn’t need to be here. Absolutely not!”
Citing the arrest affidavit from the Orange County Sheriff’s Office, FOX 35 reported the following details:
“The victim was standing near the intersection of Sand Lake Road and South Orange Blossom Trail with her friends when Whitehead approached, told her he was an artist and offered her $850 to paint her for an hour. The victim got into Whitehead’s car, and he drove her to the Highland Lakes Center shopping plaza. The report stated that he forced the victim out of the car holding a knife to her chin and told her to lie down in the backseat.”
Continuing, “Whitehead then reportedly drove the victim to a parking lot in Pine Hills, pulled her out of the car, and walked her to a wooded area. He then allegedly cut her clothes off and mutilated the woman’s body. After sexually battering her, the affidavit states Whitehead began to stab the victim in the chest several times. She fought him off by kicking him in the chest and face and ran away for help.”
Whitehead previously served 20 years in prison for a rape and attempted murder that occurred in the 80s.