Suspect accused of killing homeless man arrested after 18-hour manhunt, Polk deputies say

Robert Simmons, 42, faces multiple charges

Robert Simmons, 42 (Copyright 2022 by WKMG ClickOrlando - All rights reserved.)

WINTER HAVEN, Fla. – A suspect accused of killing a homeless man in Winter Haven was arrested Wednesday after Polk County deputies searched for him for 18 hours.

According to three witnesses, 42-year-old Robert Simmons was seen on Saturday fighting with the man at a homeless camp near the intersection of U.S. 17 and Snively Avenue, leaving the victim bloodied. Deputies said the witnesses told them Simmons stated he was tired of seeing the victim masturbating, and warned him that he would beat him up and kill him if he kept doing it.

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Deputies said the 39-year-old victim’s body was found buried in a shallow grave at the camp on Tuesday, where Simmons was seen walking nearby before noticing law enforcement and running away.

Deputies searched for Simmons for 18 hours before finding him at a business near the camp Wednesday morning.

“Our deputies did a fantastic job,” Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said. “I’d like to also thank K-9 units from the Winter Haven and Auburndale police departments who assisted.”

Simmons is facing multiple charges, including second degree murder and resisting arrest.

About the Author:

Penny De La Cruz started working at WKMG-TV in September 2021. Before joining News 6, Penny worked at KSAT 12 in San Antonio, Texas.