110 W. New York Ave.
DeLand, FL 32720
By Pat Andrews
posted May 1, 2012 - 4:35:34pm
UPDATED WEDNESDAY, MAY 2: The Volusia County Sheriff's Office reported that the body found in a wooded area of Osteen Monday night has been identified as 34-year-old Lester Bermudez-Garcia, who was the victim of a homicide.
Sheriff's Office spokesman Gary Davidson said deputies had been looking for Bermudez-Garcia since last week, after receiving a report that the victim and a second man may have been injured in an altercation somewhere in the Osteen area.
The Sheriff’s Office’s Deltona headquarters mounted a large search the next day, even going house-to-house to see if anyone knew, saw or heard anything. A Sheriff’s Office helicopter also flew over the area.
The investigation led the Sheriff’s Office to a home on Trotting Trail in Osteen. They didn’t find any sign of the two men there. But in a barn on the property, deputies discovered about 190 pounds of home-grown marijuana that was in the process of being harvested.
Investigators eventually tracked down the second man, but they didn’t know what had happened to Bermudez-Garcia until a man’s body was found Monday night in the woods, approximately 500 yards from the marijuana grow operation on Trotting Trail. They suspected it was Bermudez-Garcia, who lived in Hialeah. That was confirmed today, and the autopsy by the Volusia County Medical Examiner’s Office confirmed that he was the victim of a homicide.
Due to the ongoing investigation, the cause of death isn’t being released at this time. Investigators, however, believe that the homicide and the drug activity at the property on Trotting Trail are connected, Davidson said.
Anyone with information is asked to call the Sheriff’s Office at (386) 254-1537 or Crime Stoppers of Northeast Florida, toll free, at 888-277-TIPS. Callers to Crime Stoppers will remain anonymous and can qualify for a reward of up to $1,000.
Meanwhile, there's no identification yet of the body found in Deltona, Sheriff's Office spokesman Brandon Haught said. Foul play is not suspected in that case at this time.
REPORTED EARLIER The Volusia County Sheriff's Office is investigating two cases involving dead bodies found by passers-by.
In the first case, at around 7:30 p.m. April 30, a man riding his bicycle in a wooded area in Osteen saw what he thought was the body of an animal. When he approached it, he discovered the body of a man.
The body had begun to decompose, Sheriff's Office spokesman Gary Davidson said.
The Sheriff's Office Major Case Unit is investigating, to determine the man's identity and cause of death.
In the second case, a person on the way to work was driving down Telford Lane in Deltona around 6:30 this morning, Tuesday, May 1, and found a body on the road near Hayward Avenue. The victim was a man who appeared to be in his 30s, Sheriff's Office spokesman Brandon Haught said.
"There were no obvious signs of trauma on the body," Haught said.
The Medical Examiner's Office will perform an autopsy to determine the cause of death. The victim's name was being withheld, pending notification of next of kin.
The man's body was found near the house on Telford Lane where six people were bludgeoned with aluminum baseball bats and stabbed to death in 2004, in what are called the Xbox murders or Telford Lane murders.
Troy Victorino and Jerone Hunter sit on death row, and Robert Cannon and Michael Salas were sentenced to life in prison, for the murders of Erin Belanger, Jonathan Gleason, Michelle Nathan, Anthony Vega, Francisco "Flaco" Ayo-Roman and Roberto "Tito" Gonzalez.
The murders are known as the Xbox murders, because ringleader Troy Victorino allegedly believed Belanger had his Xbox game.
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