SANTA ROSA BEACH Fla. (WMBB) — In an armed car-jacking spanning from Tennessee to Panama City Beach, leading into Walton County, a 5-day suspect search is over.
Willie Robertson is now in custody. The pursuit started in Panama City Beach and ended in Santa Rosa Beach, near Emerald Coast Middle School, as the suspect hid for five days in the woods.
Robertson spent the last few days in Point Washington State Forest without food or water. The deputy attempted to spike his car last Wednesday that was able to arrest him Monday.
“Now he told us subsequent to his arrest, that he had actually passed out twice in the roadway beside 98, just heat, no water, bug bit, the whole nine yards. So he was in bad shape,” said Walton County Sheriff Michael Adkinson.
In the body camera photo the Panama City Beach officials used to tell the public about 24-year-old Willie Robertson on Wednesday, compared to that of Monday’s arrest, looked very different.
A resident had called into the WCSO to say they thought they had spotted Robertson along Serenoa road, just north of Highway 98.
After receiving that call, Adkinson said they were not sure if he was their suspect at first because of his condition.
“Bug bites were so bad and he had actually said something, he had made a comment about the yellow flies, so they were eating him up,” said Adkinson.
Robertson tried to lie about his name before officers arrested him Monday.
“He was in such bad physical condition that he struggled to do that and at one point he almost falls over and the deputy has to put hands on him and he almost falls again,” said Adkinson. “They actually had to lie him down because he was in such bad physical shape.”
If Robertson had stayed out longer, Adkinson said he is not sure he would still be alive.
“He basically said at that point, I’m just ready to go to jail, I’m done,” said Sheriff Adkinson. “I am ready for this to be over.”
The manhunt was a group effort across county lines, although WCSO ultimately arrested Robertson. He will spend the next few days at a nearby hospital before facing his charges in both Florida and Tenessee.