Escaped home invasion suspect captured in Leesburg

Michael Floyd arrested in Lake County

GROVELAND, Fla. - A suspected home intruder who escaped from custody in Lake County on Thursday has been captured, officials said.

Michael Floyd, who somehow escaped out of the back of a deputy's locked patrol car near Douglas Road in Groveland, was arrested in Leesburg.

Deputies said Floyd was found at his friend's house without handcuffs on, but no other details about his arrest were immediately known. Deputies said they are interviewing Floyd's friend to see if he knew he was hiding a wanted man. It's not clear if he'll be charged.

Lake County sheriff's deputies responded to a home invasion on Mertz Road just after 7:30 a.m. Thursday in which three masked men barged into a home and began asking the occupants "where the money was." 

There were four people -- Lena Estrada, her two sons and her toddler granddaughter --inside the home at the time of the incident. The robbers then bounded the hands of the two sons and took the grandmother's car, deputies said.

Estrada described the ordeal as "terrifying."

"We all made it out OK so that's the important thing.  He didn't hurt my granddaughter because she was asleep," Estrada said. "So that was the best thing -- that nobody got hurt."

When deputies found the car, the culprits ran away.

Floyd was caught by deputies, placed in handcuffs and placed in the back seat of the deputy's patrol car, according to the Sheriff's Office. As the deputy approached investigators who were looking for evidence, he walked across a two-lane road, the Sheriff's Office said.  When the deputy returned to the car, the backseat window was down and Floyd was no longer inside, deputies said.

The Sheriff's Office said deputies are investigating whether there was a problem with the car window, which was not supposed to be able to come down.  The window was not kicked out, deputies said.

"This is a very, very odd occurrence, very rare that this happens," said Lt. John Herrell.

The deputy in charge of Floyd has not been suspended or placed on leave, although the Lake County Sheriff's Office policy states a suspect in custody must remain in "direct supervision" of a deputy.

"Typically, the deputies are very diligent and this is just a fluke incident we're going to be looking into it to find out what exactly transpired," said Herrell.

The two other suspects were taken into custody.

Estrada said she doesn't understand why Floyd chose to break-in to their home.

"We were just starting to get back on our feet. My son had lost his job and we were having a rough time," she said. "That's why we couldn't understand why they chose us."

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