Transient accused of killing woman, terrorizing community

Antonio Thomas


Antonio Thomas

A transient accused in a violent nine-day crime spree that ended with a woman’s death is behind bars.

Antonio Thomas, 29, is facing charges including kidnapping, rape and murder, according to the Lee County Sheriff’s Office.

“This is a vicious killer … who ravaged innocent victims in the community,” Sheriff Mike Scott said at a news conference.

Detectives linked Thomas to at least four attacks – including one killing – starting with a June 13 attempted carjacking in North Fort Myers, during which a female victim fought him off and escaped, reports said. Two days later, detectives say Thomas carjacked a woman in North Fort Myers and beat her severely. She eventually jumped from a moving vehicle and escaped, reports said.

Detectives linked Thomas to the death of a woman found beaten and raped behind a North Fort Myers auto parts store on Wednesday.

On Friday, they say he broke into a home in the Dean Park area of Fort Myers, beat and stabbed a woman, stole her car, and used it to abduct a 15-year-old girl several miles away. The teen escaped, reports said.

The crime and killing spree is “nothing that we’ve ever seen before,” said Detective Bill Kalstrom, adding that he believed Thomas would have killed his other four victims if they had not escaped.

Scott said the victims all seem to have been selected randomly.

“He’s caged like an animal,” Scott said. “He’s not going anywhere.”

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