HERNANDO COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) — An attempt to pick up mail from a previous residence made a Hernando County woman and her friend into unlikely heroes after finding a man tied up, bloody and beaten in their former home.
Now, two Hernando County residents are behind bars after deputies say attempted to rob a man and beat him.
Sheriff’s deputies say at about 2:30 in the afternoon, a witness called 911 after she saw a man covered in blood leaving a home, getting into a vehicle, and then driving away.
When deputies conducted a traffic stop on Ayers Road, they saw a male passenger in the vehicle who needed immediate medical attention. Emergency medical personnel responded to the scene, and the victim was taken to a local trauma center for treatment of his injuries.
The driver of the vehicle told deputies she and a male friend went to the victim’s home, her previous residence, to pick up her mail.
When she knocked on the door, the woman said she could hear a muffled scream, and fearing for the victim’s safety, the woman and her friend forced their way into the home through a front window.
Deputies say the woman found the man bound, gagged, beaten, and lying on the living room
floor, with one of the suspects standing next to the victim. The suspect, later identified as Bonnie Hartmann, 44, told the woman that she’d found the victim that way in the home.
The witness quickly untied the victim and helped him outside of the home and into her vehicle. That’s when the neighbor who called 911 saw the man covered in blood.
Once deputies arrived on scene witnesses told them the suspects were still inside the home.
After a K-9 unit arrived on the scene, Hartmann exited the home without incident. A second suspect, later identified as Jonathan Rowe III, 35 however, refused to leave the home.
According to deputies, Rowe climbed into the attic in an attempt to avoid capture. After more than an hour, deputies found Rowe passed out in the attic. Deputies were able to take Rowe into custody without further incident.
The investigation into the incident revealed Hartmann and Rowe had also previously lived at the victim’s home, but were evicted in December 2020.
Hartmann said she and Rowe had gone to the home to collect some belongings they had left behind. They entered the home through an unlocked door, then proceeded to remove various items from inside.
A loud noise caused the victim to wake up as Hartman and Rowe entered the home. The victim said both Rowe and Hartmann were wearing masks when they started attacking him with a crowbar and a wooden leg from a table.
The victim told deputies he was bound for at least a couple of hours. During that time, the victim advised he was repeatedly beaten and choked by the suspects as they discussed what to do with him.
Hartmann and Rowe were both arrested on charges of home invasion robbery while armed with a deadly weapon and armed kidnapping.
Both suspects were taken to the Hernando County Detention Center where Rowe is being held in lieu of an $85,000 bond. Hartmann is being held without bond due to a violation of probation charge stemming from a previous arrest.