STARKE, Fla. -- A former Union Correctional Institute employee is behind bars in Bradford County after evading police for 13 years.
Juan Oquendo Jr. has been on Bradford County's most wanted list since two girls accused him of sexual battery in 2000.
Police say Oquendo, who served as a corrections officer from November 1997 to August of 1998, moved to New York in 1999.
A year later, two girls, one under 12 and one over 12, told police Oquendo sexually molested them for eight years. Judge Larry Turner issued a warrant for his arrest in May of 2000, but local police were never able to find him.
Police say Oquendo knew about the charges, admitting to seeing himself on a most wanted list via the Internet. Soon after he moved to Puerto Rico with his parents, where's he been for 13 years.
In November 2012, an email tip was sent to the Bradford County Sheriff's Office by a person close to a third possible victim, giving police a partial address in Puerto Rico. Police say the third victim is still a minor living in the United States, but outside of Bradford County.
An undercover FBI agent who worked with Bradford County investigators on the case, tells Action News the partial address was pieced together by a taskforce in Puerto Rico that was already familiar with Oquendo and his family. When an address was confirmed three weeks ago, it took the task force only an hour to locate the suspect. The agent says Oquendo was selling items at a flea market in Rincon, and living with his parents.
On Friday, Oquendo was flown from Puerto Rico to Jacksonville International Airport, accompanied by the FBI agent, who then transported him to the Bradford County Sheriff's Office in Starke for his first official interview since being apprehended.
Bradford County Lt. Gail Russell says Oquendo confirmed he used to live in Starke and his former employment as a corrections officer, but told Russell he doesn't remember anything about the crime.
"Other than that, he didn't want to say anything to anybody. He's been pretty much like that the whole time."
Oquendo was booked into the Bradford County jail immediately following that interview, charged with two counts of sexual battery on the girl under 12 and one count on the girl over 12. Police have not revealed Oquendo's relationship with the girls, but confirm to Action News that he knows them well. Both victims are now in their 20s.
Russell says Oquendo is being kept in isolation for his own safety, and Capt. Brad Smith says Oquendo will likely be transferred to another nearby jail next week because he has acquaintances still working in the Bradford County facility.
His current bond is $100,000, but Smith says that was set in 2000. His first appearance in court will be Saturday morning, where the bond amount could be changed.
Smith says even though Oquendo is back in Bradford County, this is only the beginning. If convicted he could be sentenced to multiple life sentences.
"It's not complete closure, but at least we know this guy is off the street and he's not able to commit anymore acts like this with anybody. Now he has to answer these allegations."
Crime Stoppers previously offered a $1,000 reward for information, but because the tip was sent to the sheriff's office directly, it may not be paid to the person who submitted it. Smith says he is working with Crime Stoppers on behalf of that person.