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Deputies: Wanted man buries himself underneath home in attempt to avoid capture

John Bennett taken into custody after SWAT called to Keystone Heights house

Bradford County Sheriff's Office photo of John Bennett on image of the Keystone Heights home where he was taken into custody Wednesday.
Bradford County Sheriff's Office photo of John Bennett on image of the Keystone Heights home where he was taken into custody Wednesday.

KEYSTONE HEIGHTS, Fla. – When a SWAT team was called Wednesday to a Keystone Heights home, a man with active warrants tried to escape capture by burying himself underneath the house, the Clay County Sheriff's Office said. 

Deputies said they had been looking for John Luther Bennett, who had an active warrant on charges of aggravated battery and resisting with violence, as well as a warrant for his arrest on armed burglary out of Bradford County. 

About 4 p.m. Wednesday, deputies said, they got word that Bennett, 29, was at his mother's Keystone Heights home and responded to the residence on Juilliard Street.

Deputies were told he was inside, and SWAT deputies eventually went in to search the residence when Bennett wouldn't come out, said Sheriff's Office public information officer Keith Smith.

During the search, SWAT deputies noticed some holes in the floor, but continued to comb through the home.

At some point, Smith said, Bennett was found buried in the dirt and sand underneath a corner of the home, where he had crawled outside through a hole in the floor.

After Bennett resisted deputies, according to the Sheriff's Office, a K-9 was brought in and bit Bennett, who was eventually taken into custody.

Smith said deputies had been looking for Bennett since an incident several days ago, when he drove off with a deputy hanging outside the car. 

Bennett got away that night, but the deputy was doing OK at last check, according to Smith. 

Investigators also said they believe Bennett is an associate of those arrested and wanted in connection with Operation Sheriff's Office Blend, a countywide drug operation. 

"He’s not associated with this major drug bust. That’s the issue," his mother, Virginia Bennett, told News4Jax. "I love my son."

The Sheriff's Office said it continues to investigate.

As of late Wednesday evening, Bennett had not yet been booked into the Clay County Jail. 


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