Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office
Investigative Operations Bureau
-Crimes Against Children Unit
Support Services Bureau
Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE)
Lawrence Warren Pierce (Suspect Incarcerated In Tennessee)
Address: Bledsoe County Correctional Complex Pikeville, Tennessee
Charges: Sexual Battery
The victim is a female. She was 17 at the time of the crime. She was not known to the suspect. Per Florida Statute 119.071((2)(h)1 no further information will be released that would tend to identify the victim
Detectives assigned to the Crimes Against Children Unit have solved a 30-year old cold case involving a sex battery committed against a 17 year-old girl in 1984. The Sheriff’s Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS) Division obtained a match on fingerprints lifted from a beer can that was left at the scene of the crime.
Sex Battery charges have been placed on the suspect who is currently being held at the Bledsoe County Correctional Complex Pikeville, Tennessee.
The victim has been made aware of the investigation and arrest and fully cooperated with the investigation.
The suspect was served with the arrest warrant for Sexual Battery on Wednesday, May 14, 2014.
The crime occurred on March 26, 1984.
Sexual Battery charges were added to the suspect being held at the Bledsoe County Correctional Complex where he was being held for a violation of probation for a 2001 sexual battery and kidnapping charge.
The crime occurred in unincorporated Pinellas Park.
On March 26, 1984 deputies from the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office responded to a report of a sexual battery that had occurred in a Pinellas Park apartment.
According to the victim, the suspect knocked at her door to ask for directions to a bar. When the 17-year old victim said she did not know, the suspect forced his way into the victim’s apartment, locking the door behind him and asked the victim out on a date.
The victim lifted her two-month old baby out of the crib, thinking the suspect would not harm her with the baby in her arms. She sat down on the couch and began to give the baby a bottle of milk.
Detectives say the suspect sat next to her and began fondling her. He then took the baby out of her arms and placed it back in the crib. He then threw the victim onto her bed, removed her clothing and sexually battered her. The victim began to fight the suspect. She kicked him and bit him. Eventually the suspect left.
The victim immediately reported the crime and according to detectives, was able to provide a good description of the suspect; information from the conversation they had, as well as the description of the vehicle the suspect was driving.
Sheriff’s Office Crime Scene investigators responded to process the scene and collected several fingerprints to include one from a Budweiser “Tall Boy” beer can that was left at the scene by the suspect. Detectives began to investigate the case. A neighborhood canvass and a composite sketch yielded no leads. The case eventually went cold as the fingerprints lifted did not match anyone detectives could identify at the time. Through the years the prints were processed on multiple occasions with no matches found.
In November of 2013, a Sheriff’s Office AFIS Latent Print Examiner ran the prints once again and discovered a possible match from the FBI database. In December the prints were confirmed to be those of 54-year-old Lawrence Warren Pierce.
Detectives from the Crimes Against Children Unit with the assistance of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement re-opened the investigation. Detectives conducted hours of meticulous research on the victim and the suspect, conducted multiple interviews, and corroborated information to secure a solid case.
Detectives secured an arrest warrant and on May 8th, 2014 served the warrant for sexual battery on Pierce at the Bledsoe County Correctional Complex on May 14th, 2014. Pierce is serving time there for a Violation of Probation on a sexual battery and kidnapping charge from 2001. During an in-depth interview with Pierce, Detectives learned that Pierce was present in Florida during the occurred time frame of the incident. Detectives were also able to corroborate the victim’s original statements regarding the incident and confirm details of the conversation between the victim and Pierce. Additionally Detectives were able to confirm through this interview specific details of Pierce’s description as well as a description of the vehicle that Pierce was operating during the incident as originally described by the victim.
In light of Pierce’s extensive criminal history detectives believe there may be other victims. They ask that anyone with information to contact, Detective Jason Stibbard of the Crimes Against Children Unit at (727) 582-6200.