Update:: The sheriff’s Office released the following at 7:41 p.m. Wednesday: “Fugitive Justin Tyler Blake was located and taken into custody in South Daytona by the South Daytona Police Department, Port Orange Police Department, Daytona Beach Shores Police Department, Daytona Beach Patrol, and Volusia County Sheriff’s Office around 6:30 p.m. Justin will be booked into the Volusia Jail and will be extradited to Flagler County to face his charges. Additional charges may be pending from the Agencies involved in the search.”
The earlier story is below.
Flagler County Sheriff’s deputies since Tuesday evening have been seeking a 24-year-old man initially involved in a domestic dispute, but whose actions since have escalated to felony charges. He is accused of assaulting a deputy and fleeing from law enforcement in a rental truck and on foot in a chase that had deputies and a helicopter scouring the southern part of Palm Coast.
Around midday Wednesday, deputies were searching him out in a wooded area off Old Dixie Highway, Bulow Plantation, Sugar Mill and Halifax Plantation near the Volusia county border.
The suspect is Justin Tyler Blake, 24, described as having dark colored shaggy hair down to his shoulders, a full, dark-colored beard, and wearing wearing a black t-shirt and black pants.
The alleged victim is a 22-year-old woman. She told deputies that the issue began when she and Blake were living in Texas. She moved out of the house because, she alleges, Blake was beating her and their children. She would not contact him. But somehow he’d manage to show up wherever she’d be, multiple times–all the way to California, and now Palm Coast. She believes Blake has access to her phone records and her GPS location, though she’s turned off her phone for her safety. Another one of the victim’s friends told authorities, in reference to Blake, “that he would burn their family alive if they would not provide him with information regarding [her] whereabouts,” according to his arrest affidavit.
Flagler County Sheriff Rick Staly discussed the case this morning during a previously scheduled update of his domestic violence task force.
One of the people Blake contacted is a 24-year-old friend of the alleged victim, who lives in Palm Coast. He had called her so repeatedly and made such threats that it prompted a response by the sheriff’s office. Blake was calling the friend daily in attempts to locate the victim. The friend told deputies that Blake “has threatened to kill everyone who stands in his way of getting to” the victim. The friend fears that he knows where she herself lives, “and is worried that he will show up and cause harm to her and her family that live there.”
The alleged victim was at AdventHealth Palm Coast at 6 p.m. Tuesday. She made a call to her friend in Palm Coast using her phone’s Wi-Fi calling feature–the only way her phone can make calls. Moments later, she saw a U-Hall truck entering the parking lot, then saw Blake get out of the truck and walk up to her. She was instantly afraid and wondered how he’d located her. She told him to leave and walked toward State Road 100. He followed her in the truck. As she hid in the McDonald’s to connect to Wi-Fi and call for help, he parked in the parking lot there. He then followed her to RaceTrac, where her friend arrived to pick her up. Just then he “forcefully grabbed” her and wouldn’t let her get in her friend’s car. (She had scrapes and a large red mark on her forearm, consistent with her statements, the sheriff’s report notes.) She managed to get loose, get in the car and call 911.
At 6:40 p.m. Tuesday, a deputy located Blake near Woody’s on State Road 100 as he was going toward a U-Hall truck. The deputy ordered him to stop. Blake fled, running across SR100, through the McDonald’s parking lot, Coconut Car Wash and into the woods. At that point deputies did not follow, because the charges resulting from their interview with the alleged victims hadn’t yet been determined. But a deputy placed stop sticks on the tires, in case Blake returned and attempted to drive away.
There was a small dog in the front seat. The alleged victim tended to the dog before leaving the scene, telling deputies Blake would not leave the dog there long, and so was certain to return. He did: at 9 p.m., deputies observed him get in the truck. They rushed the truck and ordered him out at gunpoint. He ignored them, backed out, and punctured a right rear tire on the stop sticks. Even though a deputy was in front of the truck, pointing a gun at Blake, Blake accelerated toward the deputy, who moved out of the way. The truck went onto SR100, and a pursuit began as the truck took I-95 south. The rear tire completely shredded, the truck weaved in and out of the roadway until it went into the median at mile marker 279 and Blake ran out, crossed the traffic lanes and went into the woods. A deputy chased him, K-9s joined the chase, so did Air One, Volusia County’s emergency helicopter.
“While on the track for Justin we ran into a very aggressive herd of cattle that did not allow us to pass through to keep the original track,” the report states. Though he wasn’t located, he “appeared to have potentially made it to Old Kings near the Bulow Resort area.”
The search was continuing Wednesday, after deputies had secured a warrant for Blake’s arrest. He is being charged with aggravated assault on a Law Enforcement officer, a felony, stalking, operating a vehicle with no Florida license, resisting an officer without violence, domestic battery, and Flee and Elude with lights/sirens, also a felony. He has a suspended driver’s license in Illinois, and an expired license in Oregon. The U-Haul truck was towed. The dog was turned over to animal control. U-Haul told authorities that the truck was not rented out to Blake, though they did not give out the information regarding its lawful renter. The company only said that the truck should have been returned that morning.