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A school bus aide is accused of child abuse without great bodily harm after an investigation by the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office revealed he used inappropriate force in dealing with a six year old autistic student from Silver Sands School.

OCSO deputies arrested 22-year old John-Paul Martinez of Fort Walton Beach Tuesday afternoon.

The investigation started November 2 of 2022 after the child’s grandmother reported suspicious reddish/blue marks underneath the victim’s armpit and eye following his bus ride home November 1st.

Investigators say bus video shows the child, who was secured in a harness for his protection, began having a behaviorial issue on the bus. Martinez then physically restrained him by forcefully grabbing his limbs, telling him to bite himself, and pulling on him while he was still secured in his harness.

When the child was interviewed with the assistance of his teacher, he indicated the bus aide was mean to him, made him cry, and hurt his back.

The defendant admitted his actions were excessive and he had other options he could have taken.