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Palm Coast Wednesday, Sep. 16, 2020 1 week ago

'Massive search' leads to arrest of man who stalked ex, violating no-contact order 

The suspect, James Simmons, was not allowed to be within 500 feet of the victim.
by: Brittany Kershaw Public Affairs Manager, Flagler County Sheriff’s Office

A Bunnell man who violated a no-contact order by showing up at his ex-girlfriend's home became the subject of a law enforcement search involving helicopter support on Wednesday, Sept. 16.

Deputies caught the suspect, 46-year-old James Simmons, in the woods, and arrested him.

“This guy put his ex-girlfriend in a terrifying situation by not only violating a no contact order but by refusing to leave even after she called law enforcement,” Sheriff Rick Staly said. “Unfortunately, he then made the decision to run and hide, resulted in a massive search with the assistance of the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office helicopter he was located and arrested. We take the safety of domestic violence victims seriously, and we were not leaving until he was apprehended. At the end of the day, he just racked up more charges for his poor decisions.”

The Flagler County Sheriff’s Office had responded to the victim's residence in Bunnell at 2:50 a.m. on Sept. 16, after reports of a disturbance. 

The victim told deputies that Simmons, her ex-boyfriend who is currently under a no-contact order for a previous domestic violence incident and is not allowed to be within 500 feet of her, came to the home and began banging on the door.

Due to the previous domestic violence incident, the victim was fearful and barricaded the door so that Simmons could not enter the residence.

She continually told Simmons to leave the property. She removed the barricades only after deputies arrived on scene and she knew that help had arrived. 

Once on scene, deputies interviewed the victim and witnesses and began to search for Simmons. They announced themselves loudly as members of the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office while searching for him.

Volusia Sheriff’s Office Emergency helicopter, AirOne, responded to offer air surveillance. At around 4 a.m. AirOne notified deputies that a person was hiding in the wooded wet grassy area of a nearby property that is fenced in. Deputies then made contact with Simmons and took him into custody.

Deputies made contact with the owners of the nearby property where Simmons was hiding and the property owners wished to pursue charges against Simmons for hiding on their property without permission and damage to their fence. 

Simmons was placed under arrested and charged with Burglary of a Dwelling, Violation of a No Contact Order, Stalking, Criminal Mischief, and Resisting Arrest. He was booked into the Sheriff Perry Hall Inmate Detention Facility, where he is being held with no bond allowed. 

Simmons has a prior arrest history in Flagler County dating back to 2013. He has previously been charged with Felony Fleeing and Eluding, Simple Assault, Driving without a License, Resisting Arrest, Driving Under the Influence, Lewd and Lascivious Exhibition, and a variety of narcotics charges.

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