A 13-year-old girl reported on Christmas Day that a Fort Walton Beach man had been sexually abusing her since she was 11, the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office said.
- Esau Matul Hernandez, 36, was arrested Dec. 28 on a charge of sexual battery on a victim under age 12, the sheriff’s office said in a news release.
The girl disclosed the abuse in a forensic interview Dec. 27 at the Emerald Coast Children’s Advocacy Center, where child protection investigators said she provided consistent information about the attacks, the release said.
Investigators determined Hernandez was in the U.S. illegally and had previously been deported in September 2020 without authorization to return, according to the release.
Authorities conducted a follow-up at Matul Hernandez’s residence Dec. 28. When he arrived home, deputies took him into custody without incident, but he attempted to give a false name, the sheriff’s office said.
Matul Hernandez is being held without bond in the Okaloosa County Jail.