January 18, 2019
The Bay County Sheriff’s Office announced today the arrest of a transient man for a Sexual Assault on Panama City Beach.
On December 21, 2018, deputies responded to a residence on Panama City Beach in reference to a sexual assault. The victim stated she was sleeping in the living room when a man came up behind her, grabbed her, and sexually assaulted her. The victim was able to get a quick look at her assailant and gave law enforcement a brief description of an older white male about 5’8”, a medium build, with a white goatee. She said he wore a dark colored hoodie and shorts.
Deputies went to a nearby apartment building and spoke to the residents of each apartment. A homeless man living under a bridge in the area was interviewed and he had an alibi that deputies were able to verify.
The BCSO Crime Scene unit responded and forensically processed the scene of the assault. Some of the evidence gathered led investigators to identify the suspect as Thomas Earl Wood, age 56, a transient. Further investigation revealed that Wood had been with the homeless man living under a bridge near the scene of the assault. The homeless man gave a statement that Wood had been with him the day the crime occurred but had gone off on his own that evening.
Thomas Earl Wood was located yesterday and arrested by the BCSO. He admitted to the assault. He was charged with Sexual Battery and Burglary with Assault or Battery. Wood also had outstanding warrants for Grand Theft Auto, Grand Theft five to ten thousand dollars, and Fraudulent Use of a Personal ID. He was taken and booked into the Bay County Jail.
Prepared by R. Corley
Information by Capt. J. Daffin
Approved by Sheriff T. Ford