Founder of Orlando nonprofit used in search for Caylee Anthony accused of extortion

Donate 'if you do not want to be on local TV,' suspect told victim

William Dennis Milstead, the founder of an Orlando-based nonprofit that once assisted Casey Anthony's parents in the search for their missing granddaughter, has been arrested on charges of extortion and lying to a state agency about his organization.

Milstead, 58, threatened to publish videos of someone entering and leaving a strip club unless the alleged victim made a donation to his organization, according to the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office.

Milstead is the president of Kid Finders Network, a nonprofit headquartered on Narcoosee Road in Orlando, state records show.

Milstead's organization took part in the search for Anthony's daughter, Caylee, in 2008 prior to the 2-year-old's remains being found in a wooded area near her home.

The following year, Kid Finders Network used donation money to purchase a search boat it named the S.S. Caylee Marie.

According to an arrest affidavit, an unidentified victim received two cards from "RealCityNews.com," a nonexistent website.

"You have been (filmed going) in and out of a prostitution business and will be on local news," the card reportedly stated.

The victim was instructed to contact a specific phone number "if you do not want to be on local TV."

When an undercover detective later sent text messages to the phone number, someone responded with the message, "You can make a donation to a nonprofit that (tries) to stop kids from being trafficked in these businesses," according to the arrest affidavit.

The undercover detective then received a text message containing the bank account number for Kid Finders Network, the report states.

"It is a tax donation so you can claim it on taxes," the subject allegedly wrote, according to the report.

In a recorded phone call placed by the detective that same day, "the subject agreed to delete the film" if the detective made the donation, according to the report.

Bank records subpoenaed by Sheriff's Office investigators confirmed the account number belonged to Kid Finders Network, while surveillance videos showed Milstead conducting ATM transactions from that account, the report states.

In addition to extortion, authorities have recommended Milstead be charged with falsifying an application on file with Florida's Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services stating Milstead has never been convicted of a crime involving theft.

According to investigators, Milstead failed to disclose he had been adjudicated guilty for petit theft in 2015.

Milstead was released from the Palm Beach County Jail hours after his arrest Friday.

He could not be immediately reached for comment on this story.

About the Author:

Mike DeForest

Emmy Award-winning investigative reporter Mike DeForest has been covering Central Florida news for more than 15 years. Mike joined News 6 just as Florida officials began counting hanging chads in the aftermath of the 2000 presidential election. Since then, he has covered some of the biggest news events in Central Florida.

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