Man arrested in Florida hospital kidnapping, sexual assault

Hospital leader says staffing will become an issue if South Florida's COVID-19 cases don't slow down
Hospital leader says staffing will become an issue if South Florida's COVID-19 cases don't slow down

WESTON, Fla. – Authorities say they arrested Sunday an attacker who kidnapped a Florida hospital employee as she arrived at worked and sexually assaulted her.

The Broward Sheriff's Office says Joel Cossio, 31, was arrested in Charlotte County, about 150 miles from the Cleveland Clinic in Weston where the attack occurred.

Detectives said the woman was walking into the hospital on Saturday morning when a man tackled her. He forced her back into her SUV and drove away. He sexually assaulted her then dropped her off at the Sawgrass Mills Mall, about 8 miles away.

“Any employee at a hospital is there to save lives, and when one of them is attacked and beaten it is just a horrific thought,” sheriff's Sgt. Don Prichard said.

The attacker fled in the victim's white Ford Explorer. It was seen driving west on Alligator Alley, which leads to Charlotte County.

Officials say Cossio is being held in Charlotte County pending a judge's order allowing his transfer to Broward. It could not be determined if he has an attorney.