Escaped sexual predator caught in Volusia County

Suspect jumped in water to avoid deputies


NEW SMYRNA BEACH, Fla. – After a search that lasted for more than 10 hours, Volusia County deputies say they arrested a convicted sexual predator in New Smyrna Beach late Wednesday.

Luis Alberto Hernandez DeJesus, 31, was in handcuffs and broke free from deputies, taking off running before jumping into the river behind the Mullinax Ford dealership on North Dixie Freeway at 2 p.m.

Deputies were trying to arrest DeJesus on charges of moving without notifying authorities of his new address when he escaped.

The manhunt for Dejesus was scaled down late Wednesday night but deputies say he was found and arrested just after 11 o'clock.

According to deputies two tipsters help them locate DeJesus. At 10:30 p.m. a caller reported seeing a man who looked suspicious running without a shirt and with his hands close in front of him. Deputies later attributed that to his handcuffs.

Deputies converged on the area near Blackbeard's Inn on North Dixie Freeway, but DeJesus had made it a little further, they said. Another tipster reported him running along railroad tracks. Investigators found DeJesus along the railroad tracks at 10th Street in Edgewater, about 4 miles from where he initially escaped.

A deputy was injured in the initial escape, suffering cuts and bruises, but the Sheriff's Office says the injuries are not life threatening.

DeJesus moved into the New Smyrna Beach area from North Florida and hadn't checked in and registered with the sheriff's office, according to investigators. State law says registered sex offenders must report moves and register within 48 hours of setting up a residence.

State records indicate DeJesus was convicted of having sex with a minor between 12 and 15. He's also been convicted of failing to register properly before.

DeJesus should face a Volusia County judge for his first appearance Thursday afternoon.