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Man accused of breaking into home, sexually assaulting a 74-year-old woman

He originally knocked on her door to ask for a glass of water and when she refused, deputies say he broke inside.
Credit: Sarasota County Sheriff's Office

SARASOTA, Fla. — Sarasota County deputies say a man has been arrested after breaking into a 74-year-old woman's home and sexually battering her Sunday night.

According to deputies, James Lamar Mitchell, 22, knocked on the door to a home around 9 p.m. on Maple Hollow Court asking for a glass of water. The woman who answered refused and he left, officials say.

A neighbor told the woman she left her garage door open and when she went to close it, deputies say that's when she was confronted by Mitchell.

Deputies say the man forced the woman onto the bed before breaking her knee brace and sexually battering her. 

Before deputies arrived, Mitchell left the house and stole the woman's car, deputies say. 

Early Monday, investigators say he returned the woman's car before taking off again. Deputies responded to search for Mitchell but were not successful in locating him.

Through a further investigation, he was identified and taken into custody Monday evening. Deputies say he eventually admitted to the burglary and sexual battery. 

The woman, who has multiple sclerosis, had minor injuries and is expected to be ok. She said she did not know Mitchell before the incident. 

He has been charged with sexual battery, burglary of an occupied dwelling with battery and grand theft of a motor vehicle. He has no prior local arrests, according to deputies.

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