Cleveland Clinic Employee Abducted in Parking Lot, Raped
The suspect allegedly charged the woman, tackled her to the ground, and threw her in the back of her vehicle before driving off.
The Broward County Sheriff’s Office said Joel Cossio, 31, attacked the woman in the clinic’s parking lot around 7:20 a.m. Saturday as she arrived for her shift, reports WPXI. He allegedly raced after her as she was exiting her vehicle, tackled her to the ground, and threw her in the back of her car. He then drove her to another location where he sexually assaulted her.
Cossio then dropped her off in the parking lot of a Target in Sunrise, Fla., before driving away, according to officials. The victim ran into the retail store and called the police.
“We are deeply troubled and saddened by the incident involving an employee in a parking lot on our Weston Hospital campus, which occurred this morning. Our thoughts are with our employee and their family,” Cleveland Clinic said in a statement. “We are committed to the safety and security of all patients, visitors and employees. We are working closely with local law enforcement on their investigation. Out of respect for our employee, we will not be releasing additional information at this time.”
An interstate toll camera captured clear images of Cossio driving the victim’s vehicle. He was taken into custody without incident in Punta Gorda, Charlotte County — about two hours west from where the abduction took place.
Cossio remains in Charlotte County as authorities await a judge’s order to return him to Broward County, where he faces multiple charges for the assault, kidnapping, and car theft, according to Local 10.
A statement released on behalf of Cossio’s family said he has mental health issues.
“The family’s thoughts and prayers are currently with the victim, the victim’s family, and with Joel. Their son suffers from mental illness and left home (that) morning after an argument regarding his medication,” reads the statement. “They would like to thank the Broward Sheriff’s Office, Det. Rausch, and the law enforcement officers who acted on the family’s information to apprehend Joel without incident. The family has no other comment at this time.”