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Jun 4, 2024

Additional criminal charges for former Bartow police officer

Media Contact: Brian Bruchey, PIO

The former Bartow police officer who remains in the Polk County Jail for his arrest on May 28, 2024 for inappropriate and criminal behavior with four teenage females, now has additional criminal charges from the Polk County Sheriff’s Office.

Detectives from the PCSO became aware of a comment on a Facebook post about the arrest of 24-year old Markanthony Fernandez, which indicated that the commenter may also have been a victim of Fernandez.

The commenter was contacted by a PCSO detective and she agreed to speak about an encounter she had with Fernandez back in July of 2023.

The adult victim stated that Fernandez had reached out to her on Facebook and immediately became persistent about going out on a date with her, and she eventually agreed. She said that during the date, he slapped her, hit her with a fist, and choked her to the point she couldn’t breathe. The victim said she began to scream and begged Fernandez to stop as he sexually battered her.

The victim provided detectives with text messages from Fernandez that showed he attempted numerous times to solicit her for sex, but she continually refused.

A detective attempted to speak to Fernandez in the Polk County Jail about the new accusations against him, but he declined to make a statement.

Markanthony Fernandez was additionally charged with Sexual Battery with Physical Force (FL) and Aggravated Stalking (F3).

“When we make an arrest during an investigation, it doesn’t necessarily mean the investigation is finished. We often hear from others who claim to have been victimized by the suspect. We investigate those claims, and if we find probable cause, we will most definitely tack-on additional charges. We want to see every victim receive justice. If there are any more victims of Markanthony Fernandez, please come forward.” Grady Judd, Sheriff