The hunt is on for a Florida man deputies say sexually assaulted and kidnapped a teenager, murdered a senior citizen and has a “total disregard for life.”
Taiwan Blandin, 30, is the suspect in one of the most “bizarre” and tragic cases Polk County has seen in recent years, according to the sheriff’s office.
His crime spree began at a home in Fort Meade around 8 a.m. Monday, according to the Polk County Sheriff’s Office.
Blandin broke into the home, stripped naked, and woke up the sleeping 18-year-old woman, said Polk Sheriff Grady Judd. He told the woman he was going to “sexually batter her,” and when she resisted, he pulled a knife, held it to her throat and forced oral sex, Judd said.
“You can imagine the horror when she wakes up out of the depth of sleep to see this naked man — who is a friend of her husband — standing over her bed with rape on his mind,” Judd said.
Blandin then took her cellphone and rounded up two handguns and two rifles she had in the home.
But Blandin wasn’t done.
“He hog-tied her,” Judd said. ”Wrapped her in a blanket and put her in the backseat of his car.”
The woman told police Blandin drove to Frostproof and took a dirt path to an isolated mobile home, not visible from the road. A red van was parked outside.
Leaving the 18-year-old in the car, Blandin knocked on the door and was allowed inside by an 80-year-old woman. She was his next victim.
“He shot her in the stomach ... and then he shot her in the head and executed her,” Judd said. “After he executed her, he piled plastic bottles and some type of cloths on top of the stove and turned the stove on in an effort to set the mobile home on fire.”
The victim’s name has not been released but family told FOX 13 her name was Peggy Shiering and that she was a former teacher.
While Blandin was inside the home, the kidnapped 18-year-old untied herself, hopped into the front seat of his car and drove back to a neighbor’s home in Fort Meade to call for help.
Within minutes, deputies say Blandin drove up in the 80-year-old woman’s red van and jumped out — shooting.
One of his stray bullets struck an 81-year-old woman in a wheelchair on the foot, according to deputies.
He then fled in a dark red 2011 Chevy Cruze.
Deputies tracked down the mobile home. When they arrived, they saw smoke, a trail of blood coming out of the house and a “big patch of blood on the ground,” Judd said.
It was the blood of the 80-year-old woman’s 10-year-old dog Kelly, who had a broken foot and lacerations from the bullet that “entered our victim and also went through Kelly” while she was holding him, Judd said. The dog is recovering.
Blandin contacted his sister and brother, who is a Polk bailiff, and told them that if the cops try to arrest him, he will either kill himself or have the cops kill him in a shootout, according to the sheriff’s office.
“It’s been a long time since I’ve seen an absolute total disregard for life,” Judd said.
The sheriff said he hopes Blandin turns himself in peacefully but that the agency is taking his threats at “face value.”
“But make no mistake about it, he has put us on notice that he is capable of killing himself or engaging us in a gun fight and if he does not surrender peacefully and he points a gun at us we will shoot him a lot,” Judd said. “That’s a promise.”
Deputies are still working to determine Blandin’s motive. The 18-year-old victim has been taken to an undisclosed location, according to the sheriff.
A warrant has been issued for the arrest of Blandin, who Judd described as an ex-con who faced 11 prior felony charges and is six feet tall and 190 pounds. He is wanted for multiple charges including armed kidnapping, sexual battery with a deadly weapon, grand theft firearm and murder.
He is considered to be “armed and dangerous” and should not be approached, according to deputies. It’s believed he is still driving the 2011 dark red Chevy Cruze with FL tag NAG K37 and tinted windows.
Blandin has been spotted in Winter Haven, Lakeland and even Macon, Georgia. Deputies believe he may be near or in Georgia.
Anyone with information is asked to call police.