J.J. the Yorkshire Terrier was still missing from her 79-year-old owner after a Sarasota deputy was arrested Monday, accused of “rehoming” her dog on Craigslist and trying to kill the woman.
The Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office reported Tuesday morning the dog has been found.
“Victim’s dog has been located & in good health,” read the tweet. “We are happy to report J.J. has been reunited with her owner.”
After deputy Frankie Bybee befriended the victim after going to her house for a service call, Bybee was entrusted with taking care of J.J. while the victim was in the hospital. According to the sheriff’s office, Bybee was given a check for over $1,000 to cover any expenses for the dog, but instead Bybee cashed the check and “rehomed” the dog on Craigslist.
The sheriff’s office placed Bybee on administrative leave Jan. 9 after his fingerprints were found on four checks made out to Bybee and his children totaling $65,000 from the 79-year-old victim. The victim said she never wrote the checks or signed them.
On Jan. 12, while the victim was sitting in her living room, Bybee broke into her house wearing dark clothes and blue latex gloves, according to the sheriff’s office. The victim said the suspect was “agitated and angry” for being put on administrative leave by the victim’s complaints and he forced prescription drugs down her throat, causing her to pass out. When she woke up, according to the sheriff’s office, her garage door was open and her car was running, letting in carbon monoxide into the home.
Bybee faces charges of larceny, exploitation of the elderly of $50,000 or more, forgery, burglary of an occupied dwelling, battery on a person 65 or older and attempted murder.
The dog was found the day after Bybee was arrested and returned to her owner.
According to records provided to the Bradenton Herald by a Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson, Bybee has been the subject of five previous internal investigations, though only two resulted in disciplinary action. He was reprimanded and suspended for a week after a 2008 internal affairs investigation and then again in 2014 — this time for seven days.
Staff writer Sara Nealeigh contributed to this report.