PALM COAST, FL – A former Flagler County Sheriff’s Office (FCSO) Deputy Dedorious Varnes resigned on August 4, 2020, during an internal investigation following his arrest on July 3, 2020 for Aggravated Stalking. Varnes had been suspended without pay and was facing termination.
FCSO detectives discovered that Varnes made over fifty threatening phone calls to a 67-year-old Palm Coast man who was the victim of a battery. While investigating the threats, detectives discovered that Varnes had created a “Text Now” phone number in June of 2019. In November of 2019, Varnes responded to a call for service in the “P” section of Palm Coast. The following day, a resident of the “P” section filed an online complaint alleging that Varnes did not handle the call for service sufficiently.
Varnes’ supervisor was made aware of the complaint and requested that Varnes meet with the complainant to properly handle the call. The complainant would later tell detectives that Varnes did call regarding the incident but was rude to the complainant causing the complainant to hang up on Varnes.
In the weeks that followed, the complainant received numerous text messages from the “Text Now” phone number that Varnes created in June 2019. Varnes would text the complainant and imply that an inappropriate relationship was occurring between him and the complainant’s wife.
Varnes also drove by the complainant’s home while on duty and took photos of the complainant’s home and texted them to him along with threatening messages. The threatening messages continued for several days even after the victim told the sender to stop sending messages.
The victim reviewed his home surveillance footage and saw that a patrol vehicle was driving past his home around the same time that the photos of the victim’s home were being texted to him.
Flagler County Sheriff’s Office Detectives were able to pull the GPS coordinates from Varnes’ patrol vehicle and determined that it was Varnes’ patrol vehicle driving by the victim’s home, even though Varnes was not on a call for service in the area and had to drive out of his way to drive past the victim’s home.
Detectives also located two separate text conversations on the “Text Now” phone number with two women that were occurring during the same time frame as the threatening messages to the victim.
Detectives interviewed the recipients of those texts and both confirmed that they were texting with Varnes. Detectives interviewed Varnes who admitted to having the “Text Now” phone number and communicating with the two women.
“This is an instance of a rouge officer tarnishing the badge,” Sheriff Rick Staly said. “This type of behavior is not acceptable and will not be tolerated and to see that he has done it on more than one occasion is appalling. He is an embarrassment to the law enforcement profession and deserves to go to prison. We are doing everything we can to have the state revoke his law enforcement certificate.”
A warrant was signed on August 27, 2020 for the arrest of Dedorious Varnes. He was taken into custody and charged with Aggravated Stalking. Varnes was booked into the Sheriff Perry Hall Inmate Detention Facility and released after posting a $25,000 bond.