‘Brutal rapist’ arrested in Orange County after woman found mutilated, deputies say

Bruce Whitehead, 54, taken into custody

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – A registered sexual predator considered a “brutal rapist” after a woman was found mutilated has been arrested, according to the Orange County Sheriff’s Office.

The sheriff’s office said Bruce Whitehead, 54, was arrested Thursday after receiving a tip from a resident around 7 a.m. in the area of Landstar Boulevard and Weatherbee Road.

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“Our system works,” Undersheriff Mark Canty said. “So someone saw him, they recognized him, and they called us. We got the call, our deputies responded, we set up a perimeter, and we were able to arrest him and put him back in jail.”

Deputies said Whitehead attacked a woman around 4 a.m. Saturday in the area of North Pine Hills Road and North Lane. The sheriff’s office said the woman was approached by Whitehead and she willingly got into his car. He then stopped at a convenience store and brought her a water, the report shows.

After driving away, Whitehead stopped and walked around to the passenger door and told the woman to get out while holding a knife to her throat, according to the incident report. He then sexually attacked her, officials said.

“Personally, I would qualify him as a monster. That’s my personal take. At the sheriff’s office we do believe him to be a danger to the community, which is why we have reached out to the citizens of Central Florida in an effort to bring him in so he doesn’t harm somebody else,” said Cpl. Evan Avila, of the Orange County Sheriff’s Office sex crimes unit.

Deputies said Whitehead was wearing a hat, which covered some of the tattoos on his face.

Deputies were later called to the area and found the woman “scared and shocked,” according to the incident report. The woman said she thought Whitehead was going to kill her, the report read.

“After he sexually battered her, he attempted to murder our victim, and at that point our victim bravely fought him off and was able to escape to a nearby subdivision,” Avila said.

Whitehead was convicted of kidnapping, armed sexual battery and first-degree attempted murder in a 1986 Duval County case and spent 20 years in prison.

He faces charges of sexual battery with a deadly weapon/physical force, attempted felony murder with a weapon, armed kidnapping, aggravated battery with a deadly weapon and robbery with a deadly weapon.

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About the Author:

Brenda Argueta is a digital journalist who joined ClickOrlando.com in March 2021. She graduated from UCF and returned to Central Florida after working in Colorado.