At 4:23 Tuesday morning Flagler County’s 911 dispatch center got a hang-up call from a particular number. The dispatcher called back. The woman at the other end was hesitant to speak. She texted: “I just found my phone. He is holding me against my will.” Deputies immediately went to the address. It originated from the Legacy Vacation Resorts at 98 Palm Coast Resort Boulevard, where an attendant directed them to the particular apartment tied to the phone number.
What followed was for cops an all-too familiar replay of previous arrests in similar incidents involving Amber Bruder, 30, and Jacob Baer, 29, the parents of two young children who had been taken into Department of Children and Families custody three years ago as a result of a previous arrest.
Both were fugitives as of Tuesday. Baer was on court order to stay away from Bruder. But they’d both ignored court orders before. Last week he was arrested in Volusia County on a battery charge, with Bruder again the victim. He was not only hiding in her apartment Tuesday evening. He was preventing her from leaving, as he had on at least one previous occasion, triggering the latest rerun of those familiar scenarios.
Both were again arrested. Given their history, especially Baer’s, chances of the charges getting prosecuted are slim.
Baer has been collecting felony and misdemeanor charges since early adulthood–either for drug use or domestic violence. In April 2018 Bruder accused him of hitting her in the nose when she was three months pregnant with their child. As with five previous charges, the aggravated battery charge was dropped (after it was transferred from felony to misdemeanor court). Last November he was arrested for false imprisonment, domestic assault, and tampering with a witness, with Bruder the victim, in an incident that elicited a revealing remark by the Bunnell Police Department officer who responded: “Due to my previous encounters with the residents at this address and BPD and FCSO deputies responding to this address multiple times in the past regarding civil and verbal disturbances, I was familiar that the subjects involved” were Bruder and Baer.
Those three charges were dropped in February: when the victim in the case doesn’t want to pursue the charges, it makes it difficult for the prosecution–and impossible, when the only witness is the victim–to prosecute the case and end the cycle of self-destruction.
Just three days after the state dropped those charges against Baer, Baer and Bruder were re-arrested.
The couple was staying at the Microtel in Palm Coast on Feb. 6 when she was captured on video assaulting Baer. A motel employee had gone to the couple’s room earlier, in response to a noise complaint. There, she witnessed Baer block Bruder from leaving and heard Bruder yell out that he had taken her car keys and cell phone and was preventing her from leaving the room, what would amount to a charge of false imprisonment. The employee later saw the couple fight in the hallway, with Bruder allegedly attacking Baer. She was charged with domestic battery, a charge still pending. Baer was charged (again) with false imprisonment, domestic battery and tampering with a witness. He was ordered to have no contact with Bruder.
Bruder was on pre-trial release, due to appear at her probation office to provide medical documentation and a specimen. When she did not, a warrant was issued for her arrest. That’s what made her a fugitive when deputies responded to her hang-up 911 call, and why she was arrested Tuesday, and held without bond.
“This is a prime example of why we implemented text to 911,” Sheriff Rick Staly was quoted as saying in a release. “Although in this case we arrested the person that notified us because of her active warrant we might have also just saved her from serious injury because of our Text to 911 capability. I commend our Communications Specialist that handled the 911 hang-up and then the text messages exactly as they were trained and our deputies that responded and handled the call with professionalism and patience. This is why we send a Deputy Sheriff to investigate every 911 hang-up.”
Baer will for the third time be charged with false imprisonment and tampering with a witness, plus violation of a no-contact order and probation violation, pending his release from AdventHealth Palm Coast, where he was taken for treatment for reasons that aren’t yet clear. His arrest report was not yet available. The fate of the children is not clear, though history suggests DCF has custody.
In 2019 Bruder was arrested on a felony charge of child neglect and a felony charge of assaulting an officer. He 3-year-old son had been seen running unattended and naked in the parking lot of the apartment complex at 4600 East Moody Boulevard in Bunnell. When a Bunnell Police Officer walked into her home after not hearing any responses (the door had been left ajar), she appeared and pushed him, telling him to get out. She was intoxicated, later telling medical personnel at AdventHealth Palm Coast that she’d had “too much” to drink. The little boy’s sister was found sleeping in a soiled diaper. The residence was trashed with empty beer and liquor bottles. The Department of Children and Families was called in and took custody of the children.
Bruder pleaded to the charges and was enrolled in drug court, making it through the rigorous program over the next 11 months with only one technical violation–when she was a passenger, with her 11-month-old child, in a car driven by Baer, who was arrested for driving with an open container of beer and on a revoked license. A glass pipe and pot were also located in the car but neither was charged for that. Though she’d been on a three-year drug-offender probation term, she won early probation termination in October 2020, and in accordance with the terms of completing drug court, the charges against her were dropped.
Drug addiction, mental illness, a lot going on here. Unfortunately, children are in the mix for a couple that obviously & maybe should have waded into pet ownership before becoming parents. No solution to this really, these lives have to play out. I really think a pet would be too much responsibility for this couple.
Fed Up in PC says
Why would you subject a poor animal to this couple? I swear you should have to take some kind of licensing exam to be a parent.
Those two going nowhere fast. Feel bad for the kids but if in DCFs custody they have to be better off.
Do they have to actually kill one another or one of their children before the court takes these people seriously?
Domestic Abuse cases are pursued all the time when the original complaintant fails to follow through and no longer cooperates. Sometimes, it’s because the the Domestic Abuser actually gets more dangerous as they lose more and more control over their target. In this case, you have parties that are taking turns abusing each other which makes the situation even more unstable and highly toxic. Add drugs/alcohol into the mix and you have a truly dangerous dynamic that could easily spill over into the community at large.
Both should be electronically monitored as well as twin reciprocal Protective Orders being lodged. The minute either one of them ceases to comply, that party should be incarcerated. They should also be randomly TOX screened on a regular (and long-term) basis and forced to surrender any firearms in their possession.
how do the afford hotels, beer and drugs? do they hold jobs, and how? how can adults behave like this with children, how coujld they not care for their children?
This is incredible and you wonder what is wrong with our State Attorney’s Office. They are the ones who decide who to take to court, which requires more work for them.
As you can see from their pattern this is not going to change or stop. So sooner or later one of them will die just a matter of time which one.
Although this is a sad, ongoing domestic violence drama, I am unable to gather much sympathy for the female “victim” who continues, time after time, to stay in this abusive relationship with the man who batters her time and time again. She well knows what he is about, and he knows that he is free to treat her like dirt because history will repeat itself over and over when she refuses to leave him and refuses to testify in court against him after having him arrested on the latest day of attacking her, keeping her against her will, etc. The first time she became a victim of domestic violence, she was a victim. Maybe, just maybe, she was a very slow learner and could be perceived as a victim again the second time. But when the same domestic violence issues keep occurring and she continues to stay in such an abusive relationship for whatever reason, she is, in my view, no longer a victim but a willing participant – a volunteer. She is not the first volunteer by a long shot, and will not be the last. Victims of domestic violence, whether they be female or male, need to be strong in conviction that violence in a relationship is NEVER okay, and they need to remove themself from the relationship and never fall for the old “honey I love you, I’m sorry, it won’t happen again” lie because those who violently batter their significant other once WILL do it again given the chance and the violence only gets progressively worse, not better. True victims don’t let it happen again, they leave with their head held high and find a mate who doesn’t resort to violence when there is a domestic disagreement. We all deserve that level of respect and adult behavior in our relationships.