POLK COUNTY, Fla. — The manhunt for Polk County murder suspect Taiwan Blandin, 30, continues.
- Officials still searching for murder, sexual battery suspect Taiwan Blandin
- Authorities now linking him to 2 rape cases in Wauchula
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Investigators say his car was recently spotted in Atlanta, and now even U.S. Marshals are after him.
Blandin is accused of a Polk County crime spree that includes murder and sexual battery of an 18-year-old. The crimes happened in Fort Meade and Frostproof on October 1.
Wauchula Police issued a warrant Friday for Taiwan Blandin's arrest for two counts of sexual battery. It's a case that dates back to May.
Investigators believe Blandin raped two women at a house party in Wauchula. One of the women was found unconscious.
"One of them doesn't remember anything. But the other one said that when she woke up, Taiwan Blandin was actually engaged in sex with her at that point. That’s when she said get off. Then he got off, and she recognized his voice as he made a statement to her as he was leaving the room," said Wauchula Police Chief John Eason.
Eason said they had been investigating the case since it was reported in May. In August, Eason said he learned from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement lab technicians that evidence from the sexual assault kits wasn't enough.
Mid-September, authorities executed a search warrant on Blandin and collected DNA evidence through buccal swabs.
"We asked if he was willing to speak to us about it, and he absolutely refused," Eason said.
Eason said the results came back Friday, linking Blandin to the two victims in Wauchula. Investigators filed charges the same day.
By that point, Polk County investigators had already issued two other warrants for Blandin's arrest, for crimes they say he committed on an alleged crime spree days earlier.
"This is a very bad guy. There's two sexual batteries there. He sexually battered this victim and shot and murdered another one. It's horrible. It's absolutely horrible. We need to find him and get him locked up,” said Sheriff Grady Judd.
Blandin was last seen in the Atlanta area. Authorities there say he has no known ties to the area. The car he was driving, a maroon Chevy Cruze, was last spotted there on Wednesday.
He is considered armed and dangerous, so if anyone sees him, they should call 911 immediately.