Bradenton Man, 23, Confesses To Rape, Attacks On School Girls
Jared Scott Jenkins was arrested in connection with three recent attacks, according to sheriff's office.
A 23-year-old Bradenton man has been arrested and has confessed to the Jan. 31 rape of a 15-year-old girl and recent attacks on two other girls near Bayshore High School, the Manatee County Sheriff's Office said Thursday.
Jared Scott Jenkins, 23, was arrested around 12:30 p.m. Thursday at a residence in East Bradenton and later gave detectives from MSO and the Bradenton Police Department confessions in all three cases, Sheriff Brad Steube said.
"It was always our intent to get this predator off the street, and today we've done that, and we're very pleased with that," Steube said.
A tip from the public led Bradenton Police detectives to the Boys & Girls Club on 34th Street West, where they secured a photo of Jenkins that was identified by one of the attack victims, Steube said.
From there, investigators attained a search warrant for a home near where the attacks occurred and found evidence linked to one of the incidents. That led them to the East Bradenton residence where Jenkins was arrested Thursday.
"This case really boiled down to detectives at MSO and BPD using old-fashioned shoe leather to interview people and get this thing solved," Bradenton Police Chief Michael Radzilowski said.
Jenkins had been sought in connection with three cases and is charged with:
- False imprisonment and attempted sexual battery in a Nov. 29 attack on a 15-year-old girl in the 5100 block of 51st Street West.
- Kidnapping and sexual battery in the Jan. 31 rape of a 15-year-old girl in the 4900 block of 47th Avenue West.
- Attempted sexual battery and kidnapping a person under the age of 13 in last Thursday's attack on a 12-year-old girl in a church parking lot in the 5500 block of 26th Street West.
Jenkins had one prior arrest, as a juvenile in Sarasota, Steube said.
Security camera footage taken at Bayshore High and at a nearby home captured the man believed to be the assailant shortly before and after the most recent attack.
Schools Superintendent Tim McGonegal said the Bayshore camera was added just about a year ago when the school district enhanced its security measures.
School district spokeswoman Margi Nanney said the district will be meeting with law enforcement officials soon to review its protocols on security and parent notification.
Parents of students at Bayshore and other nearby schools were not warned of the attacks until after the most recent one, on Feb. 10. But, Nanney said, because Bradenton Police did not issue a press release on the Jan. 31 rape, the district did not realize the incidents could be linked.
Nanney said the district had to balance students' integrity with the public's right to know.
"In this case, when people look back, it's easy to criticize," Nanney said. "But when you look back, it's a very intricate puzzle. Student safety is No. 1 for us, and you always can get better at that."