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Thursday, May 30, 2024

Ocala man accused of trying to meet 14-year-old for sex at gas station

A 33-year-old Ocala man who was communicating online with a law enforcement agent posing as a 14-year-old girl has been arrested after allegedly visiting a local gas station to have sex with the fake girl.

On Sunday, May 5, a Marion County Sheriff’s Office detective began communicating with a man, later identified as Jered Michael Watford, on the social media application “Kik,” according to an arrest report from MCSO.

Jered Michael Watford
Jered Michael Watford, 33, of Ocala

The sheriff’s office stated that the undercover detective used a fictitious profile and posed as a 14-year-old girl while communicating with Watford. During these conversations, Watford allegedly acknowledged numerous times that the girl was 14 years of age.

In addition, Watford asked to see several selfies of the girl holding a note with his name on it in order to “prove her identity” because he was “nervous,” according to the report.

Throughout the conversations between Watford and the “14-year-old girl,” which took place on the Kik app and via text messages, Watford sent multiple sexually explicit messages related to masturbation. According to the report, he also stated that he would “love to show her how to masturbate.”

Watford eventually asked to meet the 14-year-old girl, and arrangements were made to meet at the Shell gas station located at 5985 W Silver Springs Boulevard in Ocala. At the designated time, MCSO personnel spotted Watford’s vehicle at the gas station, and they approached him while he was seated in the vehicle, according to the report.

When Watford saw law enforcement, he put his vehicle in reverse and attempted to flee from the parking lot. His vehicle backed into the front of an MCSO patrol vehicle, and the report stated that he was taken into custody without further incident.

After being read his Miranda rights, Watford admitted that the phone number and Kik account used to communicate with the undercover detective belonged to him. He confirmed that his messages with the “14-year-old girl” were “sexual in nature,” and he claimed that he “would not have actually committed any sexual acts with (her),” according to the report.

During the post-Miranda interview, Watford further admitted to attempting to flee from the gas station parking lot. He stated that he “should not have tried to flee,” and he apologized for backing into the patrol vehicle.

Watford was arrested and transported to Marion County Jail, where he is currently being held without bond. He is being charged with traveling to meet a minor for illegal sexual conduct, use of a computer to solicit a child, fleeing to elude a law enforcement officer, and use of a two-way communication device to facilitate a felony.

A court date has not been scheduled yet, according to jail records.