Florida man jailed after hours-long manhunt

Photo taken of the viewfinder of a NewsChannel 15 camera shows the suspect after being captured inside a barn in northern Allen County on November 29, 2017.

DEKALB COUNTY, Ind. (WANE) A Florida man who was the subject of a manhunt by multiple law enforcement agencies in northern Allen County Wednesday morning was captured in a barn off Auburn Road.

Around 2 a.m. Tuesday, a DeKalb County Sheriff’s deputy pulled over a vehicle for speeding along Interstate 69 in southern DeKalb County, six miles north of the Dupont Road interchange. During that stop, a police K-9 alerted the deputy to possible drugs in the vehicle and the deputy began to search it, according to a police report.

Inside the vehicle, the deputy found two “suspicious” packages, DeKalb County Sheriff Don Lauer said. As the deputy tried to look into the packages with his knife, the driver of the vehicle – 23-year-old Ivan Jaimes Molina of Ft. Meade, Florida – lunged at him and grabbed his arm, Lauer explained.

Photo of Ivan Jaimes Molina provided by the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Dept.

The deputy thrust his knife forward and caught Molina on his clothing, but Molina was able to run off on foot. The deputy was not hurt during the altercation.

Around 7:45 a.m. then, Fort Wayne Police and Allen County Sheriff’s deputies were called to an area around I-69’s 319 mile marker, two miles north of the Union Chapel Road interchange, on a report of a suspicious person hitch-hiking there. As an Indiana Conservation officer and a Fort Wayne Police officer arrived in the area, they spotted a man running through a field, Lauer said.

The conservation officer chased after the man but lost him in a wooded area, Lauer said. A perimeter was set up anda large number of officers from various law enforcement agencies including Indiana State Police and the DNR set up a staging area at around 8 a.m. in an area of northern Allen County near I-69 and Hursh and Auburn roads.

A DeKalb County Sheriff’s Department deputy (center) walks next to a Garrett police officer following a traffic stop on I-69 on Nov. 29, 2017. The deputy says he was attacked by the driver of a car but was able to stab him in the arm before he ran off.

Molina was found about 50 minutes later, in a barn at 14514 Auburn Road. Lauer said in a report that he was arrested “without incident.” He faces initial charges of Resisting Law Enforcement and Battery to a Law Enforcement Officer.

Multiple law enforcement agencies from DeKalb, Noble and Allen counties searched for Molina. Officers searched nearby fields, creeks, ditches, farm houses, barns, and businesses in a search area that included Auburn Road, North County Line Road East, Tonkel Road, County Roads 19, 17, and 68, among others. Officers were also seen searching areas near Bralin Laser and Spectrum Engineering.

Police have not released information about what was in the initial “suspicious” packages in Molina’s car, other than to say it was a powder-like substance. Lauer said in his report that an Indiana State Police lab team was called in to test the contents.

The sheriff said, “illegal drugs are suspects” and that drug charges are anticipated.