Levy County man arrested for kidnapping, victim saved by witnesses

OCALA, Fla., (WCJB) -- A Levy county man is behind bars after he kidnapped and tried to molest a 17-year-old mentally handicapped girl from the Westwood Mobile Home Park in Ocala on Tuesday.

According to a press release, a witness saw the girl in James Dyess' van. The witness began to look for the victim's mom. When the witness could not find her, they found the van and helped the child get out of the van.

MCSO does not believe this is the suspect's first offense of this kind.

"We had some investigative leads come forth that lead us to believe that he may have done this in the past," said Lauren Lettelier, MCSO PIO, "If you know of any type of suspicious incident involving Dyess and children, we are asking you to come forward, we need to know about his history with children, and if he's done this before and if he has any other victims out there."

Lettelier said Dyess was arrested by the Levy County Sheriff's Office on wWednesday evening. He is currently at the Levy County Jail awaiting transportation to the Marion County Jail, where he will face his charges.

If you or someone you know has more information about Dyess' history, contact the Marion County Sheriff's Office.