A Sarasota County sheriff's deputy is behind bars for allegedly trying to kill a woman and make her death look like a suicide after exploiting her for money and stealing her dog.
Eighteen-year veteran Frankie Bybee found himself on the wrong side of the law, according to Sheriff Tom Knight. He said the deputy recently befriended a 79-year-old woman while on duty and made frequent visits to her home.
The victim's neighbors were concerned about what they called regular visits. That was unusual they said.
"We thought maybe somebody had tried to rob her or something," said Joe and Norma Glickman, who live next door.
The woman was recently hospitalized and had allowed Bybee to watch her dog, officials said. She gave him more than $1,000 for vet bills, but Bybee allegedly kept the money instead and found the dog a new home through Craigslist.com. He is also alleged to have forged her signature to write himself $65,000 worth of checks.
"He was taking advantage of her because of her age and winning her confidence to exploit her for her money," Knight said.
Bybee broke into her house, drugged her and left her car running to fill the rooms with carbon monoxide, investigators said. Sheriff Knight believes he wanted to make her death look like a suicide. But she survived.
Bybee was arrested Monday morning and later appeared in court. The deputy’s attorney Charles Britt spoke on his behalf.
"Mr. Bybee does and continues to deny the allegations that were made by the government in this case," Britt argued.
Bybee was ordered held on more than $1 million bond at the Sarasota County Jail.