PALM COAST, FL -On January 9, 2021, the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office (FCSO) received an anonymous report of a potential sex crime against a 15-year-old child. The information received was that a 33-year-old Palm Coast man, identified as 34-year-old Gaston Santos Jr., was engaging in sexual activity with a female who he knew was only 15 years of age.
The case was assigned to the FCSO Major Case Unit (MCU) and an investigation was initiated. MCU Detectives proceeded to make contact with the juvenile victim, who confirmed that the anonymous report was true. The victim stated that Santos Jr. had manipulated her into believing that they were in a relationship and that he subsequently engaged in sexual intercourse with her on two occasions.
Through investigative measures, MCU Detectives were able to successfully obtain evidence that verified that Santos Jr. had engaged in sexual intercourse with the 15-year-old child on two different occasions dating back to January 1, 2021.
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On February 4, 2021, with assistance from FCSO Problem Area Crime Enforcement (P.A.C.E.) Detectives, Santos Jr. was located. MCU Detectives subsequently responded to conduct an interview with Santos Jr. where he eventually confessed to the crimes.
A warrant for the arrest of Santos Jr. was obtained and he was placed under arrest by P.A.C.E. Detectives on February 4, 2021 at 8:05 p.m. Santos Jr. was charged with Lewd and Lascivious Battery and booked in to the Flagler County Detention Facility and is being held on $75,000.00 bond.
“This is a sick and twisted individual who preyed on a young child and tricked her into an adult relationship,” Sheriff Rick Staly said. “Thankfully someone came forward to alert us and our detectives worked quickly to make an arrest. We hope that the victim gets the help she needs to recover.”
One event was believed to have happened out of county and detectives are working to identify the location and notify the appropriate jurisdiction.