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‘Could have ended in tragedy’: Man strangled, beat and threatened to kill ex-girlfriend in Beach Park attack

Joe D. Fontanez-Marrero, 42, of Beach Park.

Quick police response helped stop an armed man who broke into a Beach Park home and strangled, beat and threatened to kill a woman Sunday evening, the sheriff’s office said.

Joe D. Fontanez-Marrero, 42, of the 39300 block of North McAree Road in Beach Park, was charged with aggravated domestic battery with strangulation, resisting arrest causing injury and two counts of domestic battery.

The Lake County Sheriff’s Office responded around 7:45 p.m. Sunday to the 39300 block of North McAree Road in Beach Park for an unknown problem call.

A 911 caller, who was not at the scene, reported that a man was attempting to break into her mother’s home, according to Lake County Sheriff Spokesman Lt. Christopher Covelli.

The first sheriff’s deputy arrived and saw Fontanez-Marrero exiting the residence. Fontanez-Marrero saw the deputy and immediately ran southbound from the scene.

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The sheriff’s deputy pursued Fontanez-Marrero on foot and the man threw what appeared to be a knife during the chase.

The deputy was able to catch up and apprehend Fontanez-Marrero, who resisted arrest.

Covelli said that an investigation revealed Fontanez-Marrero and the victim, a 40-year-old woman who lived at the residence, had been in a previous dating relationship. Due to a previous argument, Fontanez-Marrero was not staying at the residence.

He came back just before 7:45 p.m. and could not get into the home so he forced entry to a door to get inside and attacked the victim, Covelli said.

Fontanez-Marrero smashed the victim’s cellphone to prevent her from calling for help, however, the woman had already notified her daughter who was the one that called 911.

Fontanez-Marrero told the victim he was going to kill her, Covelli said. He punched, kicked and choked the victim.

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He then grabbed a pair of scissors and broke them into two pieces to use as a knife. He held the knife against the victim’s stomach area and again threatened to kill her, Covelli said.

At that time, the first deputy arrived and Fontanez-Marrero fled from the scene.

The victim sustained multiple bruises and a cut from the blade. She was evaluated by paramedics but declined to go to the hospital.

The sheriff’s deputy who took Fontanez-Marrero into custody sustained minor abrasions during the apprehension.

“If it were not for the quick response and quick actions of our first deputy at the scene, this situation could have ended in tragedy for the victim. The members of the sheriff’s office will always be there to help victims in their time of need and to arrest the offenders responsible,” Sheriff John Idleburg said.

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Fontanez-Marrero remains held in the Lake County Jail on a $100,000 bond. A court hearing is scheduled for March 24.