Armed Florida Man Holding Daughter Hostage Dead After Tense Police Standoff

July 9, 2018 Last Updated: July 9, 2018



A man holding his 6-year-old daughter hostage after a fight with his wife, released the child before taking his own life.

Gary Cauley, 39, of Lakeland, Florida, seized his daughter after an argument with his wife Amie, 36, on the afternoon of July 7, according to the Polk County Sheriff’s Office.

Cauley kept his 6-year-old daughter captive for almost more than 24 hours before finally letting her walk out of his estranged wife’s home at 6522 Dartmouth Rd., at 1:20 p.m. on Sunday, July 8.

Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said Cauley told his daughter Rylan, not to be afraid—then told her he was going to kill himself.

Sheriff’s deputies fired a chemical agent into the dwelling in an effort to force Cauley out alive, but the estranged husband shot himself with a handgun, ending his life instantly.

Long Argument, Longer Standoff

According to Judd, Cauley went to his wife’s home at 4 a.m. on Saturday, July 7. The couple spent several hours arguing.

Somewhere around 1:10 p.m., Judd said, Cauley’s wife told him she had plans to go to the beach with another man, one Cauley did not approve of.

Cauley got a pistol out of the garage, then told his wife he was taking his daughter and not letting her go. He then told his wife he planned to kill himself.

Amie Cauley called the sheriff’s office. When deputies arrived, she ran out of the house to safety. She wanted to re-enter the home after talking to deputies, but Cauley would not let her.

Deputies contacted Cauley via bullhorn and spent hours trying to convince him to release his daughter and surrender himself peacefully.

At no time did Cauley threaten to harm his daughter.

Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd briefs the press after the fatal resolution of the standoff in Lakeland. (Fox screenshot)
Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd briefs the press after the fatal resolution of the standoff in Lakeland. (Screenshot via Fox)

A Slow-Brewing Confrontation

A neighbor, Patricia Ortega, said that the couple had been arguing with increasing intensity through the previous week.

“They were fighting just the other night,” said Ortega told the Lakeland Ledger. “When people walk by you can hear them arguing. They say they’ve been fighting on and off for the past week.”

Polk County deputies and officers from the Lakeland Police Department surrounded the residence, but made no aggressive moves. Cauley repeatedly promised to release Rylan, then refused.

Finally, around 1 p.m. on Sunday, July 8, the Lakeland Police SWAT team was summoned. The added pressure of the heavily armed officers might have been the factor that made Cauley release his daughter.


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