South Florida

Escaped Suspect Caught After Massive Search Near FIU Campus

A suspect who sent police on a massive search after he escaped custody near the campus of Florida International University has been caught, Miami-Dade Police said Friday.

According to police, 21-year-old Ivan Zapata was picked up for an alleged sexual assault. He was Baker Acted and taken to Kendall Regional Hospital.

While at the hospital, police say Zapata fought the cop and attempted to take the officer's gun.  He then carjacked a woman at the hospital, eventually crashing and ditching her car near the FIU campus at 8th Street and 117th Avenue.

He was later caught in the 8800 block Northwest 119th Street in Hialeah Gardens, police said.

FIU officials say the school was not on lock down, but did send out an alert to students with the description of Zapata.

Nearby Sweetwater Elementary School and Dr. Carlos J. Finlay Elementary School were on lockdown for a time. Both sites have since been cleared.

Zapata was wearing a hospital gown and no shoes at the time of his escape.

According to an arrest report, Zapata was arrested Thursday in Homestead on charges of sexual battery, kidnapping and domestic aggravated battery.

Zapata and the victim, his 20-year-old girlfriend, got into an argument about her wanting to see her mother, the report said. The argument escalated and Zapata told her to take off her clothes and get in the bathroom of the motel they were staying in, the report said.

While they were in the bathroom, Zapata beat her with the stick of a toilet plunger, causing bruises all over her body, the report said. He also sexually assaulted her, the affidavit said.

The woman told officers that Zapata held her captive and had burned her more than 20 times with lit cigarettes dating back to December. He also threatened to kill her if she left his side, the report said.

When Zapata went to visit a family member, the girlfriend was able to escape and call for help.

This is a developing story. Stay with NBC 6 South Florida for updates.

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