Insurance fraud detective credited with stopping child kidnapping in process

The children were in peril for 96 minutes.

An insurance fraud investigator turned into a hardcore crimefighter when he saw a vehicle on Interstate 95 matching the description of a gray Toyota Sienna detailed in a “be on the lookout” announcement he’d just heard.

The insurance fraud investigator conducted a traffic stop and the two children abducted from their Palm Coast home were rescued. The dramatic turn of events near Jacksonville prompted Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis to issue a news release.

“As a father of two young boys, the thought of a child being kidnapped is one of my worst nightmares,” Patronis said. “Thanks to the quick thinking of one of our sworn law enforcement officers, this alleged kidnapper was apprehended, and the children were safely returned to family.”

Press accounts of the incident identify the man as Derek Richard Jordan. He is currently being held without bond by the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office (JSO) at the Duval County Jail facing charges of kidnapping, aggravated battery on a person older than 65 years and burglary with assault or battery.

The insurance fraud investigator is part of the Division of Investigative Services (DIFS) under the Department of Financial Services. The Department opted not to identify the DIFS lieutenant who made the stop, but a spokesman for the Department said the officers are armed and drive marked cars equipped with sirens and lights while some officers drive unmarked cars.

The lieutenant pulled the minivan with an Indiana tag over Friday and was able to control the scene until the JSO and Florida Highway Patrol arrived, according to the Department news release.

The officer is based in Jacksonville, usually hunting down insurance fraud, a Department spokesman said.

“Our insurance fraud detectives are working in Florida communities every day to protect citizens and work together with local law enforcement to ensure our communities are safe,” Patronis said. “Although fraud is their primary focus, our fraud detectives are always on the lookout for bad actors in any form and I want to commend their hard work in protecting Floridians every day.”

The suspect in the case is the children’s noncustodial parent and apparently forced his way into a home in the Z section of Palm Coast. He pushed a family member and forcefully took the children, a 3-year-old girl and a 4-year-old boy, according to the Daytona Beach News Journal. The kidnapping was reported at 2:06 p.m. and the DIFS lieutenant pulled Jordan over at 3:42 p.m., the newspaper reported.

“This was outstanding teamwork between all agencies involved and our network of Real Time Crime Centers (RTCC),” Flagler County Sheriff Rick Staly told the Daytona Beach News-Journal. “Our RTCC and our major case detectives were a buzz of activity and resulted in the quick apprehension of the suspect and the safe return of the children.”

Anne Geggis

Anne Geggis is a South Florida journalist who began her career in Vermont and has worked at the Sun-Sentinel, the Daytona Beach News-Journal and the Gainesville Sun covering government issues, health and education. She was a member of the Sun-Sentinel team that won the 2019 Pulitzer Prize for coverage of the Parkland high school shooting. You can reach her on Twitter @AnneBoca or by emailing [email protected].


  • Dont Say FLA

    July 18, 2023 at 4:42 pm

    So, uh, is this Derek Richard Jordan a drag queen or not? I bet not!

  • PeterH

    July 18, 2023 at 4:43 pm

    Isn’t it a little odd Ron DeSantis that there were no drag queens or transgender individuals involved in this criminal activity! As is typical in crimes in America most indictable activity is perpetrated by heterosexual men!

Comments are closed.


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