Putnam County Sheriff’s Office uses special technology to help save young child abducted

PUTNAM COUNTY, Fla. — A child is back in the safety of a mother’s arms after an abduction took place early on Thursday morning. Special technology played a large role in finding the young child.


The Putnam County Sheriff’s Office received a call just after 2:30 a.m. on Thursday morning about a possible kidnapping from a residence in Florahome.

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The mother called PCSO 30 minutes after noticing her daughter was gone.

Chief Deputy Colonel Joseph Wells says Jonathan Dumas was a family friend visiting the mother at the time.

“Although he was known to the family, he has no parental rights, he had no legal justification for knowingly taking the child away from the mother’s custody,” Chief Deputy Wells said.

The incident report says the mother attempted to locate Dumas at “the local gas station and Dollar General” before calling 911 about an abduction.

Investigators identified his vehicle as a Nissan Altima -- a rental car. From there, the tag number was immediately put as “Hot Plate” in PCSO’s automated license plate reader system (LPR). After a short pursuit, deputies said they found Dumas and the young girl -- within an hour.

“There isn’t any way we could have recovered this child this quickly without this system. And there isn’t any way – in my opinion – that this child would have remained safe for much longer with the erratic behavior of this suspect,” Wells said.

Wells said they found Dumas about 20 miles away from Florahome.

PCSO said they’ve been using LPR’s for the last four years to find thieves, missing people and even to track homicide suspects. But as Wells said, this is one of the most noteworthy and successful uses of the system.

“Somebody passes an automated license plate reader at 60 or 70 miles an hour, every two minutes that information is delayed, we lose the edge,” Wells said. “And these are real-time systems, and they are certainly proving their worth.”

When Action News Jax Annette Gutierrez spoke with the mother over the phone, she didn’t want to speak on camera but she did say she was happy to have her daughter home safe and sound.

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Dumas was arrested and taken to the Putnam County jail and charged with kidnapping of a child under 13, child neglect and two counts of resisting an officer without violence.

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