Rony Mendez’s sudden slither from Polk County back to his native Guatemala in 2014 wasn’t to escape economic responsibility for the child he’d fathered. It was, Polk County Sheriff’s Office said, to escape responsibility for impregnating the child’s mother --11 years old at the time.
WIth help from the FBI and Guatemalan National Police, among other agencies, Polk County authorities extradited Mendez, now 25, back to Florida to face three counts of sexual battery on a child under 12 and one count of lewd molestation.
The PCSO says DNA tests done on the baby, born in Spring 2015, and items Mendez left behind confirm Mendez’s paternity.
Mendez packed up for Guatemala late in November 2014. PCSO says the girl’s mother called them on Nov. 26, 2014. A visit to the Polk County Health Department unveiled her daughter’s loss of appetite, nausea and vomiting weren’t a reaction to vaccinations. She was pregnant.
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The mother told detectives she suspected Mendez, who apparently lived with the family. When detectives went to Mendez’s place of work, they say, his employer said he left with alacrity to handle what he called “an emergency.” Detectives claim that’s when they learned the mother had already called Mendez to ask if he’d molested her daughter. She told detectives he grabbed his stuff and left, likely for Guatemala. PCSO says her daughter told special victims unit detectives Mendez fondled her once and raped her three times. PCSO put out a warrant for Mendez’s arrest on Nov. 27, 2014.
On Dec. 2, 2014, the victim’s mother told detectives Mendez called her from Guatemala. That’s where he remained, free, until the Guatemalan National Police arrested him on April 21. Monday, FBI and PCSO officers took custody of Mendez and brought him back to Florida.