Waldo couple arrested after woman padlocks boyfriend in room in attempt to prevent his arrest


WALDO, Fla. – Dennis James Alton, 49, and Billie Jo Marie Dowling, 45, were arrested yesterday after Dowling padlocked Alton in a room of their home in an attempt to prevent his arrest on a warrant.

Alachua County Sheriff’s Deputies went to the couple’s home in Waldo on Saturday morning to serve a warrant on Alton for violation of probation in a 2015 case of aggravated stalking against Dowling; the warrant was originally issued in 2016 after Alton moved without notifying his probation officer.

Deputies set up a perimeter around the residence and made verbal announcements for Alton to come outside, then Dowling reportedly came to the back door and told deputies she would come back out when she was dressed. Deputies reported hearing furniture being moved around inside the home after she closed the door.

Dowling reportedly came out to talk to deputies in front of the house and told them that she hadn’t seen Alton for a month and didn’t know whether he was in the house. She went inside and reportedly called out for him a few times, then went inside a room, where deputies could hear her talking to someone. When she came out of the room, she was holding a padlock, and a deputy reportedly saw her locking the door of the room with the padlock. She then went out to the front porch and sat down, reportedly continuing to deny that Alton was inside the house.

When deputies asked Dowling where she put the key to the padlock, she reportedly said she didn’t know where it was and also would not tell deputies why she locked the room.

Alton was reportedly found hiding under the bed in the locked room, and Dowling reportedly acted surprised when he was escorted out of the home.

Both defendants have been charged with resisting or obstructing officers without violence.

Post Miranda, Dowling reportedly confessed that she knew he was in the bedroom the whole time and that she intentionally tried to hide him from deputies.

Post Miranda, Alton reportedly admitted hiding under the bed when he realized deputies were at the house.

Alton has one felony conviction and was sentenced to probation, which he is now charged with violating; his warrant specifies that he be held without bond.

Dowling has no criminal convictions and has already been released from the jail.

Articles about arrests are based on reports from law enforcement agencies. The charges listed are taken from the arrest report and/or court records and are only accusations. All suspects are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. 

  • “Locking him up so he won’t be arrested.” That gives new meaning to the old ball & chain.

    That’s funny but one has to admit – she’s got the right idea.

  • >