Marathon man accused of raping woman, holding her in trailer against her will

Witness rescues woman after he sees her screaming in truck, deputies say


MARATHON, Fla. – A Marathon man was arrested Thursday on accusations that he raped a 33-year-old woman and held her against her will inside his travel trailer, authorities said.

Monroe County Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Becky Herrin said the victim told detectives that she was sitting in front of a Kmart in Marathon at 2 p.m. Wednesday when Julio Melendez, 53, pulled up in his gold-colored GMC pickup truck.

The victim told authorities that she decided to go for a ride with Melendez and purchased cigarettes and alcohol before going to back to his travel trailer, where they had consensual sex.

Herrin said the victim eventually became unwilling to continue having sex with Melendez and told him to stop. Herrin said he failed to stop, raping the woman.

The victim said Melendez held her in his trailer against her will for about 13 hours.

She said they eventually left in his truck and drove to the shopping center parking lot at 55th Street in Marathon. 

Herrin said Melendez sideswiped a man’s vehicle in the parking lot and the man saw the victim inside the truck, yelling for help. 

According to authorities, the witness intervened and told the victim to get into his vehicle.

Melendez then sped off in his truck as the witness told a bartender in the Brass Monkey lounge about what happened, Herrin said.

Herrin said a sergeant recognized the description of the suspect and his vehicle from previous law enforcement encounters. 

The victim also identified the suspect in a photo line-up, Herrin said.

Melendez was arrested Thursday on a warrant and was booked into jail on charges of sexual battery. He is being held in lieu of a $150,000 bond.

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