Three people accused of robbing, kidnapping and trying to kill an 86-year-old man this month were arrested April 11 in Delray Beach, the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office announced Wednesday.
Douglas Cercy, 34, Ray Jones, 21, and Jennifer Schulte, 37, all of Jacksonville, face attempted murder, robbery and kidnapping charges after they reportedly slashed Melvin Clark’s throat and left the 86-year-old Neptune resident for dead off a highway west of Jacksonville.
Jones and Cercy were drinking Budweiser beer the afternoon of April 11 outside the CVS Pharmacy at the Plaza at Delray on South Federal Highway, court records show. They were taken into custody on the out-of-county warrants and on charges of drinking in public. The two men were questioned about the murder at the Delray Beach Police Department.
It is unclear exactly where Schulte, who does not face charges in Palm Beach County, was taken into custody.
The three suspects were booked Wednesday evening into a Jacksonville jail, records show.
Clark was found at about 3 p.m. April 8 laying in the dirt bleeding profusely, Jacksonville Sheriff’s Assistant Chief Scott Dingee said Wednesday at a news conference. Clark appeared to have pulled himself out of a ditch full of water onto the dirt road.
He was flown to a hospital with life-threatening injuries. As of Wednesday, sheriff’s officials have not been able to speak with him about the attack due to the severity of those injuries.
Clark’s wife called Neptune police that day to report him missing. He had left to run errands that morning and never returned home, she said. Their credit-card company had notified her about suspicious activity on their cards and she was worried.
A detective pieced together that the man in the ditch was, in fact, the woman’s husband.
Clark’s stolen Honda CRV turned up abandoned the next day in Miami, so Jacksonville officials headed south. A tip came in linking Cercy to the crime. He reportedly had left town in a stolen CRV. Officials learned that two others, Jones and Schulte, were with him.
The suspects reportedly were spotted at a Greyhound bus stop at the Tri-Rail station in Boca Raton. The two men, at least, were taken into custody a bit north in Delray Beach, records indicate.
Delray Beach police would not comment about the incident beyond saying they assisted the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.
Detectives are still unsure how the suspects came across Clark, Dingee said. However, they are believed to have lured the elderly man at gunpoint to the west side of the city where he was robbed. The suspects reportedly took him to the woods and slashed his throat before leaving in his car.