Sex offender who offered to buy woman's 8-year-old daughter for $100K dies in custody

Hellmuth Kolb
Hellmuth Kolb

An elderly registered sex offender who was jailed after he offered a woman $100,000 to buy her 8-year-old daughter died Thursday while in custody, according to records.

Hellmuth Kolb, 85, was booked Aug. 25 into the Volusia County Branch Jail on a charge of violating his probation, which stems from his pleading no contest to charges of false imprisonment and battery in August 2019, records show.

Volusia County Spokesman Gary Davidson wrote in an email that Kolb "was transported from the jail to Halifax Health Medical Center on Tuesday for a medical issue and died at the hospital on Thursday. The Volusia Sheriff's Office is conducting a routine death investigation, which is customary."

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Port Orange police said Kolb approached a woman in Winn-Dixie, 4025 S. Nova Road, on Aug. 16, and commented on her daughter's appearance and asked for the girl's age, according to the arrest report.

Once outside the store, Kolb approached the woman and said he wanted to "make a deal," the report stated. Kolb told the woman he would give her $100,000 for the girl, the report states.

Bystanders asked Kolb why he would make such comments, to which Kolb laughed before walking back into the store.

Police found Kolb at a bench outside of the store and asked if he'd offered money for the woman's child.

Kolb laughed and said, "We all like kids," according to the report. Officers escorted Kolb to his vehicle while his wife finished shopping.

Kolb's defense attorney, Mitch Wrenn, said after meeting Kolb at the jail he decided he was going to have him evaluated to determine whether he was competent to proceed in the case and also to assess his general mental health.

Wrenn said that an elderly "gentleman who is allegedly trying to buy a child at a Winn-Dixie, according to the news reports, something isn’t right with the guy.”

Wrenn said Kolb had been hospitalized previously since his arrest in August but had been returned to the jail. Wrenn said he did not know why Kolb was hospitalized.

Kolb, originally from Austria, pleaded no contest in August 2019 to false imprisonment and battery charges; he was sentenced to five years of probation, according to court records.

Conditions of his probation, which stemmed from a similar incident that occurred outside of the Port Orange Walmart in 2018, prohibited him from having contact with minors, except for family members, and required him to be accompanied in large retail stores/malls, according to the arrest report.

This article originally appeared on The Daytona Beach News-Journal: Florida sex offender who offered to buy woman's daughter dies in custody