Today Daniel Joseph Thomas, 55, of Fort Myers was sentenced to the maximum penalty of 40 years in prison for False Imprisonment of a Minor, 2 counts of Lewd and Lascivious Battery and one count of Interference with Custody. He was also designated a sexual offender by the court.
The incident involved a missing child, a then 14 year old girl, who had been held captive by Thomas who had been a trusted family friend. He had been hiding the victim in his RV during the seven week period she was missing, driving the vehicle between Collier and Lee counties. The defendant was sexually assaulting the victim before and during the time he took her.
The search for the teenager involved The Lee County Sheriff’s Office, Collier County Sheriff’s Office, and Florida Department of Law Enforcement, as well as two local churches, and community members.
The defendant then decided the victim could go home and contacted a pastor to negotiate her recovery. The pastor went to the RV and found her. The defendant fled to Michigan and was extradited back to Lee County.
At Thomas’s sentencing today, the victim and her mother gave victim impact statements to the court. Assistant State Attorney and Special Victim’s Unit Chief Francine Donnorummo and Assistant State Attorney Natalie Savino prosecuted the case.
State Attorney’s Office