Brutalized woman kept prisoner 2 months escapes tormentor at Florida store, cops say

A kidnapped woman managed to escape at a Florida Walgreens after enduring more than two months of imprisonment and severe beatings, according to deputies.

The victim seized the chance to run Monday, April 1, when she was left alone in a van outside the store in Seffner, the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office reported in a news release. Seffner is about a 15-mile drive northeast from Tampa.

Investigators said the woman reached a nearby Mobile gas station, where someone called 911.

“When deputies arrived they noted the victim sustained numerous injuries to her face and body and she was transported to a local hospital for medical treatment,” the sheriff’s office said.

Her accused captor was identified as 48-year-old Walter Medina of Tampa and he was captured after a chase that crossed county lines and reached speeds of 100 mph, the Florida Highway Patrol reported.

A K-9 with the highway patrol brought Medina to a quick stop after his van crashed, troopers said. He was taken to a hospital for unspecified injuries.

The identity of the victim has not been released. Investigators said she was homeless and panhandling when she met Medina in January. He initially befriended her, offering food and drugs, officials said.

“Medina actions turned violent as he subjected her to months of relentless physical abuse and captivity. Medina repeatedly assaulted the victim using a wooden baseball bat and a flat head screwdriver, inflicting severe injuries including, but not limited to, broken ribs, deep puncture wounds, and extensive bruising,” the sheriff’s office said.

“Over the course of approximately 2.5 months, the victim endured unimaginable suffering at the hands of Medina as he forcibly transported her around the Tampa Bay area and threatened to kill her if she fled or sought help.”

Medina has been charged with:

  • Attempted second-degree murder

  • Armed kidnapping

  • Armed false imprisonment

  • Aggravated battery with great bodily harm

  • Tampering with a witness

  • Tampering with physical evidence

  • Reckless driving damage to person or property

  • Hit-and-run leaving the scene of a crash involving damage to property

  • Flee to elude law enforcement at high speed

“I can’t imagine the torture this victim endured for months, but I can imagine the relief she felt when our deputies arrived,” Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister said in the release.

“I have to commend the bravery of the victim for escaping her captor and seeking help.”

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