Hours After Alleged Crime, Eustis Attempted Rape Suspect Bitten by LCSO K9 and Taken into Custody Thursday

EUSTIS, Florida—The man accused of attempting to rape a woman at a Eustis massage business was bitten by a Lake County Sheriff’s Office K9 and taken into custody just hours after the crime, according to Eustis Police Department Capt. Dave Carney.

Surveillance video from a nearby business clearly showed the license plate of the vehicle the suspect was driving, and he was quickly identified as Timothy Paul Taylor, 35, by EPD. They went to his last known address in Eustis and neighbors told police he moved to Palmetto Street. Officers arrived at the home he shares with his mother and the vehicle used in the crime was in the driveway, Carney said. Taylor’s mother said he walked off in the woods and Carney called for assistance from the Lake County Sheriff’s Office, including a K9 deputy and handler and LCSO’s helicopter, Eagle One. Multiple people called in to EPD and reported seeing Taylor running through several streets.

“He was going through people’s yards, jumping fences. The bird (Eagle One) finally found him,” Carney said.

Taylor was found hiding in heavy vegetation off Selleen Drive and refused to come out when ordered, Carney said, and an LCSO K9 was sent into the brush to apprehend him. Taylor was bitten several times and taken into custody. At press time, he was receiving treatment for the bites at a local hospital.

Taylor is accused of entering the back door of A-1 Massage and Spa, 1316 South Bay Street, and asking for a sex act Thursday morning, Carney said. The female victim told Taylor they did not perform sex acts and he pulled his pants down, grabbed her by the hair, put what police believe may have been a BB gun to her head, pulled his pants down and demanded the sex act. She told him no, he let go and told her he would come back and kill her if she called the police, Carney said.

The victim fled out the front door while Taylor fled out the back door to a black sedan. He popped the hood on the vehicle, closed it and then fled out of the parking lot onto Bay Street, Carney said. Police believe he may have put the gun under the hood of the vehicle before fleeing; a citizen found a BB gun nearby and called EPD; police believe it was the gun used in the crime, Carney said.

Taylor was arrested for attempted aggravated sex battery with a deadly weapon, aggravated battery with a deadly weapon, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and resisting arrest. EPD detectives are requesting Taylor be held on no bond, Carney said.

PHOTO: Marilyn M. Aciego/Inside Lake
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