Ex-Florida deputy accused of helping suspect, longtime friend evade arrest

Posted at 7:57 AM, June 5, 2023

OKEECHOBEE, Fla. (Court TV/Scripps News West Palm Beach) — A Florida deputy is behind bars for helping his lifelong friend evade arrest, according to authorities.

Arturo Dominguez, a former deputy with the Osceola County Sheriff’s Office, was arrested last week on four felony charges related to helping suspect Omar Ayala.

Osceola County Sheriff Marcos R. Lopez gives a press conference

Osceola County Sheriff Marcos R. Lopez gives a press conference on charges against ex-deputy Arturo Dominguez for helping suspect Omar Ayala evade arrest. (Osceola County Sheriff’s Office)

Ayala, a 31-year-old former teacher and soccer coach at Okeechobee High School who is accused of having a sexual relationship with a teenage girl, has been on the lam since April.

Authorities say Dominguez used a law enforcement database to run Ayala’s name multiple times to see if he had an arrest warrant.

“He told a suspect in a sex case involving a minor to flee,” Osceola County Sheriff Marcos Lopez said. “That’s pretty disgusting.”

The victim’s mother contacted authorities after she discovered racy text messages in her daughter’s phone between Ayala and a school pastor.

Okeechobee County Sheriff Noel Stephen said Dominguez’s interference made investigating this case that much more difficult.

“Extremely difficult, it even points the finger more so if he had any potential to defend himself or speak up for himself,” Stephen said. “His actions now speak volumes.”

WPTV in West Palm Beach, an E.W. Scripps Company, contributed to this report.

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