CLEARWATER, Fla. (WFLA) —Missing dentist Alex Gutierrez was arrested on a probation violation potentially solving part of a mystery involving several patients who claim he abandoned them in the middle of expensive procedures.
Gutierrez, 47, is locked up in the Pinellas County jail without bond on a warrant from a 2022 reckless driving conviction that was pleaded down from a DUI charge, according to court documents.
Court records indicate Gutierrez pleaded not guilty to violating three probation conditions, including a claim he did not report to a January appointment.
Gutierrez’s attorney Jason Bard has yet to respond to requests for comment.
Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Sgt. Amanda Sinni said Gutierrez was arrested without incident last Friday at the county misdemeanor probation building.
Gutierrez Orthodontics has been closed for weeks, with mail piling up behind the front door. The practice phone number has been disconnected and its website is offline.
Gutierrez has not responded to multiple requests for comment from 8 On Your Side and several patients said they have been unable to get through to him about their treatments and dental records.
Traci Hillring was in the middle of a $5,000 procedure to straighten her teeth when she found out Gutierrez’s office was closed.
Hillring is one of several patients who said they have been forced to pay other providers and start all over.
For Hillring that adds up to an additional $2,500 and seven months of lost time.
“It’s frustrating. I was hoping to be done with this,” Hillring said. “Hoping to stop making payments toward [my treatment} and moving on without having to wear trays every day would be nice.”
Hillring said it is good to know where Gutierrez is, but she is not sure if it will make a difference to his frustrated patients who collectively are out tens of thousands of dollars.
“Maybe offer some sort of refund,” Hillring said. “I’m less concerned about what he’s in jail for and think that maybe he should have some consequences to this.”
Gutierrez has a clean record with the Florida Department of Health without any complaints or disciplinary action.
A FDOH spokesperson said they could neither confirm nor deny whether any patients impacted by Gutierrez closing his office have filed complaints.