SARASOTA, FL---The man officials say is responsible for kidnapping and sexually assaulting a 5-year-old girl is behind bars. 36 year old Dominick Hawkins is in the Manatee County jail without bail after declining to make his first appearance in court Thursday. And this isn't Hawkins' first run in with the law.
"He was a face we saw on a daily basis," said Emi McGolan. McGolan is speaking about Hawkins. The 36 year old man arrested for kidnapping and sexually assaulting a five year old girl. Surveillance video taken just before the attack, show Hawkins with the young girl. According to investigators Hawkins lured the child away with the promise of candy. A tactic many who know Hawkins say was right up his alley
"He was sneaky, I can tell he was sneaky, I told every body he was sneaky," said Richard Bull.
Bull says Hawkins' sly demeanor was also on display just moments before he was arrested for attacking the 5 year old. "I seen him at the bus station and he was riding his bike. He had on glasses on and he had shaved his beard a little bit but I recognized him because I had hung around him for a couple of months," added Bull
Over the last few months the Sarasota homeless community say they welcomed Hawkins but many of them say they knew deep down something wasn't right.
"He would leave for a couple of hours and then come back. Then leave for a couple of days and then come back. I know something was going on," said Bull.
And that something may also be visible in Hawkins' past. He was arrested on domestic violence charges against his long-time girlfriend back in May. From 1996 to 1999, he faced 8 other convictions on charges ranging from robbery with a dangerous weapon to first degree kidnapping. A charge for which in 2000, he was sentenced to 20 years in prison. But for reasons we weren't able to verify, Hawkins was released early.
And while the homeless community says they didn't know anything about Hawkins' rap sheet, they say once they saw the wanted flyers, they knew something had to be done.
"I'm glad that we as homeless people got together to solve this crime and get this guy off the streets as soon as we could before anyone else got hurt. We don't want any children getting hurt out here." said McGolan.