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Suspect arrested in Bradenton child assaults

MANATEE -- A 23-year-old man arrested Thursday has admitted to raping a 15-year-old girl and and attacking two other girls in Bradenton, according to the Manatee County Sheriff's Office.

Jared Jenkins was arrested in east Bradenton on a warrant charging him with false imprisonment in connection with a Nov. 29 incident involving a 15-year-old girl. He also faces a charge of attempted sexual battery in the case, Sheriff Brad Steube said during a late afternoon news conference.

"The (Bradenton) Police Department and the sheriff’s office received information earlier this week that Jenkins could possibly be involved in the attacks," a news release states. "Subsequent investigation led to a warrant being obtained," on Wednesday.

According to Steube, Jenkins faces charges of:

-- False imprisonment and attempted sexual battery, in connection with an attack on a 15-year-old girl on Nov. 29, in the 5100 block of 51st Street West. This case was investigated by the sheriff's office.

-- Kidnapping and sexual battery, in connection with the rape of a 15-year-old girl on Jan. 31, in the 4900 block of 47th Avenue West. This case was investigated by the Bradenton Police Department.

-- Attempted sexual battery and kidnapping a child under the age of 13, in connection with an attack on a 12-year-old girl on Feb. 10, in the 5500 block of 26th Street West. This case was investigated by the sheriff's office.

A key break in the case came after the third attack, when detectives learned that two different surveillance cameras in the vicinity of the assault -- including one at Bayshore High School -- had captured an image of a man believed to be the suspect.

The other camera showed an assailant grabbing the girl, and then fleeing after she told him that there were people in the area who might see or hear what was happening, according to the sheriff's office.

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