A man was arrested and charged with kidnapping and raping a 16-year-old girl in an abandoned Westside home Tuesday.
Thaddeus Anderson, 21, (pictured below) was booked into the Duval County jail and made his first appearance in court Wednesday morning.
Police were dispatched to the 5100 block of Collins Road on Tuesday morning in reference to a missing person call. The caller said at about 9:30 a.m., the 16-year-old victim left the house to go to her friend's house but never arrived.
The friend went to the caller's house about an hour later looking for the victim. The caller tried to reach the victim on her cellphone and it went to voicemail each time. The caller added the victim would have gone through the woods to get to her friend's house.
The officer traced the path the victim would have taken through the woods. The path came out to a backyard at 8719 Pinevalley Lane. That location is a duplex and both homes are vacant.
The officer then located the victim, who came frantically running to him. The victim said she was raped and described the suspect to the officer. While the officer was speaking with her, he saw a person matching the description crossing Whispering Pines Lane from Pinevalley Lane. The investigating officer alerted another officer, and the suspect was detained.
The investigation revealed that the victim was grabbed from behind by a man and pulled into an abandoned house. Once inside the house, Anderson committed multiple sexual battery offenses, according to the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office.
Anderson was transported to the sex crimes division at the Sheriff's Office for an interview. He was arrested and charged with kidnapping, burglary and three counts of sexual battery.
Anderson has been arrested before. In July 2009, Anderson was arrested for carjacking and armed robbery. He was released from jail in October 2011.
Some of the neighbors said they weren't surprised by the violent attack.
"I honestly wasn't surprised. It's not the first time people have been in these houses," said neighbor Brian Baker. "It's not the first time someone has done some criminal activity. It's not the first time. It's just another one of the many things going on. No one will put up a simple fence. The owners of these two houses here passed away a couple years ago. The actual fence to the back came down after a storm. It's been broken for two years."
Neighbors who live on Pinevalley Lane said they have complained about the vacant homes several times, but nobody did anything about it.
"We've told a couple people from the city that it's been broken," Baker said. "We've had police officers come out here and say the fence has been broken and people are cutting through the house. It's been constant. There's been damage to the house here and damage to the house on the back side and the side of it because people cut through the yard here and go back into the apartment complex over there because it's only about two minutes away."
Baker said he's seen people break the window out of the vacant homes and run into the woods several times. There have been 19 burglaries or robberies in the neighborhood in the last six months, according to JSO's crime mapping tool.
Baker said he's worried about his own kids.
"We have a daughter; she's 15. She's outside a lot," he said. "It really makes you upset because I don't want my kids out here because people may be up to no good, and that's not something I want to be dealing with."
Neighbor Nila Reynolds said she's caught people trying to break into her home while she was there, but no one was arrested. While she said what happened to the teen is horrible, she hopes it will bring change and action in this neighborhood.
"I hate to say it, but I'm glad it was finally more than just a break-in because now maybe -- because police in Jacksonville and Florida are really, really good about going after child molesters," Reynolds said.