Man Dies Before Facing Charges for 1981 Crime

Charged With Armed Kidnapping & Armed Sexual Battery

Michael Anthony Tolbert
DOB May 11, 1957
Pompano Beach, FL

On August 14, 1981 at about 4 a.m., a woman called police to report that she had been the victim of sexual battery. The victim told Boca Raton Police officers she was walking north on NE 5th Avenue just north of Spanish River Boulevard when she saw a black station wagon parked on the northwest corner. The victim heard music playing but did not see anyone in the car. She continued walking, heading to her apartment on NE 44th Street, when she heard someone behind her. She looked back and saw a male running towards her. The victim tried to run away, but the suspect caught her.

The suspect grabbed the victim, tied a man’s tie around her mouth and neck and said, “Don’t scream, shut up.” The suspect then put a knife to her neck and punched her several times. He also told her, “Come with me and you won’t get hurt.” He dragged her to the black station wagon she had seen before and forced her into the car. The suspect drove around for about fifteen minutes then stopped the car. He then told her to take her clothes off and get into the back seat of the car, where he sexually battered her. The suspect drove the victim back to the area where he picked her up. She ran to a nearby store and called police.

Detectives thoroughly investigated the case in 1981 and followed all leads, but the case went cold. In November 2010, Boca Raton detectives submitted the sexual battery evidence collection kit from 1981, the tie used to restrain the victim, and the victim’s clothing to the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office DNA lab for analysis. In February 2011, detectives received a report from the PBSO lab which identified the DNA as belonging to convicted career offender Michael Anthony Tolbert. Detectives contacted the victim, who said she never knew anyone named Michael Tolbert. Records showed that Tolbert had been released from the Everglades Correctional Institution in November 2009 and according to records, was residing in Pompano Beach.

Detectives tracked down Tolbert and discovered he was admitted to Holy Cross Hospital, where he was in a coma. In May, detectives obtained a search warrant to get source DNA from Tolbert. His DNA was confirmed by the PBSO lab as matching the DNA profile of the suspect in the sexual battery. Detectives filed for an arrest warrant for Tolbert, charging him with one count of armed kidnapping and armed sexual battery. On June 26, 2011, Tolbert died at Holy Cross Hospital.