A 58-year old Hastings man was arrested on charges of sexual battery, kidnapping, aggravated assault and battery this afternoon according to information received from Sgt. Chuck Mulligan with the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office.
The suspect, identified as Joseph M. Dennis, 58, 811 N. Main St., was located hiding at another residence in the 800 block of N. Main St. this afternoon and was questioned by Special Victimsâ€™ Unit Detectives. Media Relations Officer Kevin Kelshaw tells Historic City News and Media that Dennis was then booked into the County Jail.
The investigation began at 9:30 a.m. when the 43-year old female victim reported what she says occurred early this morning.
The victim told deputies that she and the suspect got into a verbal argument in front of the apartments on Merkerson St., at 2:30 a.m. The victim turned to walk away when she says Dennis approached her from behind and allegedly placed her in a choke hold; dragging her through the woods to his home.
During this time, the victim claims that Dennis struck her several times in the face and head with his hands. According to the victim’s statement to deputies, Dennis held her at knife point for several hours and committed sexual battery on her.
The victim went to the home of a relative at 6:30 a.m. and reported the incident.
The victim was transported to Flagler Hospital where she was treated and released.
The suspect will have a first appearance hearing Friday morning.