Florida man promised food and drugs to panhandler but instead tortured her with a screwdriver and bat over months, police say

A woman claimed to have been tortured and kidnapped for over a month after she escaped captivity by running into a gas station store in Florida.

A worker at the Mobil gas station in Seffner
told WFLA-TV that the woman staggered into the store on Monday and locked herself into the bathroom while crying. She had escaped from a van that had been parked at a nearby Walgreen’s store.

He noticed that a man driving a van drove away from the area recklessly after the woman ran into the store.

The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office said that the woman told them she had been tortured and held against her will for more than two months.

The woman claimed that she had been a panhandler in an area near Hillsborough Avenue and Habana Avenue when a man offered to give her drugs and food in January. He instead began torturing her with a flathead screwdriver and hitting her with a baseball bat.

“Medina’s actions turned violent as he subjected her to months of relentless physical abuse and captivity,” read a statement from the HCSO.

Police said the woman was left with “severe injuries including, but not limited to, broken ribs, deep puncture wounds, and extensive bruising.” She said he threatened to kill her if she tried to escape.

They were able to identify her alleged torturer as 48-year-old Walter Medina of Tampa.

Police said they were able to locate Medina on Tuesday and he was apprehended after a car chase that reached 100 miles per hour at one point and included the Polk County Sheriff’s Office and two other police agencies.

He was charged with a slew of crimes, including armed kidnapping, harm, or terrorizing; armed false imprisonment; and attempted murder in the second degree with a weapon.

The woman was transported to a hospital for treatment of her injuries.

“I can’t imagine the torture this victim endured for months, but I can imagine the relief she felt when our deputies arrived,” said Sheriff Chad Chronister. “I have to commend the bravery of the victim for escaping her captor and seeking help. Our thoughts are with her as she recovers from this traumatic ordeal.”

Medina had been previously arrested for kidnapping, aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer, and robbery.

“This suspect’s reign of violent terror is now over,” Chronister added.

Here’s more about the incident:

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