Ocala man arrested after coercing 2 girls for ‘sexual favors’ for over a year, deputies say

Dwight Edwards, 47, faces charges of human trafficking, battery

Dwight Edwards, 47 (Marion County Sheriff's Office)

MARION COUNTY, Fla. – An Ocala man was arrested Friday in connection with coercing two girls between 12 and 16 years old for sexual favors for over a year, according to the Marion County Sheriff’s Office.

On Nov. 22, detectives said they discovered 47-year-old Dwight Edwards had been messaging the two girls, trading cash and other items for “sexual favors.” In a release, the sheriff’s office said the coercion had been going on for more than a year.

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Deputies contacted the man’s wife — Jessica Edwards, 33 — for help with finding Dwight Edwards so that they could arrest him, the release shows.

However, deputies said she refused.

Later, detectives said they found that Jessica Edwards had forced the two girls to have contact with Dwight Edwards alone over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. Due to the discovery, deputies said they arrested Jessica Edwards.

Jessica Edwards, 33 (Marion County Sheriff's Office)

Dwight Edwards was eventually found and taken into custody in Stockbridge, Georgia, deputies said. He was taken to the Henry County Jail to be extradited to Marion County, according to the sheriff’s office.

Dwight Edwards faces six counts of human trafficking and six counts of lewd or lascivious battery. Jessica Edwards faces two counts of child neglect and is being held on a $100,000 bond at the Marion County Jail.

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Anthony, a graduate of the University of Florida, joined ClickOrlando.com in April 2022.