David Motz, 31, was arrested and charged Wednesday with aggravated stalking after allegedly actively following, threatening, and harassing his ex-girlfriend almost daily “for approximately one year,” according to a probable cause affidavit obtained by The Daily Beast.
Among Charlotte County Sheriff Deputy Motz’s alleged abusive acts, according to the woman who was not identified in court records for her protection, was a threat that if he were to lose his job by virtue of her reporting him, she would “end up like Denise Amber Lee.” In 2008, Lee, a 21-year-old mother of two, was kidnapped, raped, and murdered in a gruesome case that rocked Florida.
“The victim took this [threat] to mean that she would be kidnapped, raped, and murdered like Denise Amber Lee was in Charlotte County, FL,” the affidavit states.
The Charlotte County Sheriff’s Department confirmed to The Daily Beast that Motz, who was hired in February 2018, was currently on administrative leave without pay pending the investigation’s completion. On Thursday, a judge ordered Motz to be held on a $1,500 bond in Charlotte County Jail and that he was to have no contact with the victim.
“It is a sad day as another law enforcement officer has tarnished our badge and has broken that sacred trust we work so hard to build,” Charlotte County Sheriff Bill Prummell said in a news conference announcing the charges on Wednesday. “We are tasked with enforcing the laws and protecting our communities. This does not put us above it.”
Motz could not immediately be reached for comment, and it was unclear if he had an attorney.
According to the probable-cause affidavit, the woman said she had dated Motz on and off for about two years. And even prior to the stalking saga, she said, he was terrifyingly abusive.
During one June 2019 argument, the woman told police, Motz “pointed his department-issued Taser at her, turned it on, and threatened to ‘Taser her.’”
“She added that she asked him how he would explain to his department how the discharge of the loaded cartridge happened and he then turned off the Taser and put it away,” the affidavit states.
When the pair broke things off, however, Motz allegedly began to actively stalk her, beginning around April of this year.
The woman told police she “repeatedly asked him to stop contacting her, but he ignored her wishes and continued to call, show up at her work, email her, and follow her to different locations in and around” North Port, Florida. The affidavit states the woman also provided her phone records, voicemails from Motz, and emails in an attempt to prove the harassment.
“He has also dropped off gifts and deposited $1000.00 into her account,” the affidavit states, noting that the woman returned the gifts each time.
The harassment got so intense, the woman told authorities, that she constantly feared for her and her child’s safety—believing that because of his law-enforcement status, he had the means and power to hurt her “at any moment.”
The affidavit states that Motz would show up to locations where the woman was in his marked patrol car, in his uniform, and while on duty.
“As law enforcement officers we should always rise above any standards set. That makes it even more disturbing when an officer of the law, who is put in a position of public trust, abuses it," North Port Police Chief Todd Garrison said on Wednesday.
For Nathan Lee, the idea his wife’s death was invoked by a sheriff’s deputy as a threat was terrifying. The father-of-two already had a poor view of the Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office, whom he blames for his wife’s death after she called 911 dispatchers from her abductor’s phone. Dispatchers did not redirect the call to the appropriate authorities until the next morning. Adding to the drama: Denise’s father was a Charlotte County sheriff’s detective at the time of her January 2008 abduction and murder.
“It’s terrifying to think that there are people out there that will, they’ll do those types of things, or at least threaten those types of things, or especially use my wife, as, you know, leverage,” he told WINK.