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Polk County police arrest 'armed and dangerous' murder suspect

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Posted at 9:27 PM, May 03, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-04 15:11:16-04

POLK COUNTY, Fla. — The Polk County Sheriff's Office (PCSO) captured a wanted homicide suspect Wednesday. The arrest comes after an 18-hour manhunt for 42-year-old Robert Simmons.

Simmons was wanted in connection to a homicide in the Eloise area of Winter Haven close to U.S. 17 and Snively Avenue.

In a release, Simmons was charged with second degree murder, tampering with evidence and resisting arrest.

Police were notified of a possible homicide in a homeless camp Tuesday. Witnesses described an altercation between Simmons and the victim which led to a fist fight over the weekend.

PCSO said Simmons then left and returned looking for the man. Simmons then told witnesses that the victim left for Avon Park. Simmons then left the camp again at around 9:00 a.m. and was not seen again until May 1.

A day later, a witness found the victim's blanket. A human foot was found inside and the witness immediately left the area thinking the victim was possibly dead. Simmons went on to tell witnesses the he killed the victim, and a individual at the camp left to inform law enforcement.

PCSO Homicide Unit detectives located a shallow grave near the homeless camp after being notified Tuesday. A short time later, Simmons was identified walking near the camp and fled officers.
He was captured Wednesday morning on a property in a wooded area.

“Our suspect is no stranger to trouble, and is a dangerous person," Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said. "Our search for him was hindered by some bad weather Tuesday, but deputies held a tight perimeter around where he was last seen, and contained him there overnight. After sunrise, we were able to methodically close in on him and capture him. Our deputies did a fantastic job, and I’d like to also than K-9 units from the Winter Haven and Auburndale police departments who assisted.”

The victim is described as a 39-year-old man. PCSO is working on locating and notifying his next of kin.