Puppies lead authorities to child molestation suspect

Two puppies led Putnam County deputies to find a man accused of molesting a 6-year-old boy.

Juan Andres Francisco is charged with aggravated child molestation and aggravated sodomy, said Putnam County Sheriff Howard Sills. He is being held without bond at the Putnam County jail.

Sills said a woman discovered her son crying and injured Thursday night in a mobile home near the Jones County line.

“It was obvious what had happened,” he said. Francisco ran from the home Thursday night, and two puppies also went missing.

Search dogs from the Georgia Department of Corrections were unable to pick up Francisco’s scent Thursday night or Friday.

But deputies received a call late Friday night from a person living on Shady Dale Road who saw Francisco trying to crawl under a house. The person also saw two small dogs, Sills said.

Francisco ran into the woods before deputies made their way to Shady Dale Road, close to the Jasper County line, he said.

Soon a deputy spotted a yellow puppy outside a nearby abandoned store. Deputies surrounded the store and found Francisco hiding inside, Sills said.

“Apparently the puppies followed him,” Sills said.

Sills said the 6-year-old boy was taken to Putnam General Hospital following the sexual assault and was later transferred to The Medical Center of Central Georgia in Macon. He was released from the hospital Saturday, Sills said.

He said the boy is not expected to have any permanent physical injuries.

Sills said deputies discovered Francisco’s identity by examining two counterfeit resident alien cards he left at his residence. Agents from the U.S. Department of Immigration and Customs Enforcement are investigating Francisco’s immigration status, Sills said.

Francisco was deported in March 2008 following an incident in Casa Grande, Ariz., he said.

To contact writer Amy Leigh Womack, call 744-4398.