SARASOTA (WWSB) - Troopers acted quickly in conjunction with the sheriff’s offices in two counties to stop a kidnapping from happening.
On Sunday, troopers were told to be on the lookout for 36-year-old Jean Jean-Gilles, who the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office says kidnapped his 2-year-old daughter after battering the girl’s 36-year-old mother, who has legal custody of the toddler.
Florida Highway Patrol spotted Jean-Gilles driving on the Sunshine Skyway Bridge around 9:30pm, but because there were concerns Jean-Gilles could be armed, waited to stop him until he was on I-75 when several deputies from the Manatee County Sheriff's Office could assist.
Once stopped, troopers say they located the child in the back seat. The child was reportedly not buckled in, but was okay.
Jean-Gilles was questioned. Troopers say he insisted that he had permission to take the child with him back to Miami, but text messages did not show that.
The Pasco County Sheriff's Office says the girl's mother had agreed to let Jean-Gilles see the toddler, but that he arrived very late at night. The girl's mother told Jean-Gilles he could not take her from the home, according to deputies, who say that's when he battered the victim and took the child without permission.
The toddler was taken back to Pasco County. Jean-Gilles was charged with kidnapping of a child under 13 with aggravated circumstances and interference with custody.
He will likely face additional charges in Pasco County.