Date: August 30, 2002 "For Immediate Release"
To: News Media
From: Sheriff Lawrence W. Crow, Jr.
Media Contact:

Michal Shanley, 863 534-6631 or 819-0397 pager

Carrie Rodgers, (863) 534-6217 OR (863) 819-1856, Pager

PCSO seeking the public’s assistance in locating the body of a 27-year-old missing Winter Haven man, Charles “C.H.” Kindred.

The Polk County Sheriff’s Office Bureau of Criminal Investigations Homicide Unit is seeking the public’s assistance in locating the body of a 27-year-old missing Winter Haven man, Charles “C.H.” Kindred.

In an effort to resolve this matter and provide the victim’s family with some closure, we have chosen to release investigative details to the public which have not been previously released. The initial facts known to detectives are as follows:

  • On 10/01/2001, C.H. Kindred’s family reported him missing when he failed to pick up his children at daycare.
  • Homicide Detectives became involved in the investigation on 10/02/01 when the victim’s vehicle was found at the Speedway Store located at AZ Park Road and Combee Road in Lakeland.

Since then, the investigation’s focus has narrowed on two (2) individuals who are believed to be the last people to see the victim alive. One of these men is the primary suspect of this homicide investigation. This suspect’s name is Robert E. Levesque, DOB 12/31/52, from Bartow, currently incarcerated in the Polk County Jail. At the time of C.H.’s disappearance, Levesque was occupying a business/residence known as Bass Auto Sales located at 5905 Highway 60 East in Bartow. Levesque is a long-time convicted car thief and con man with an arrest history dating back to 1969. Levesque, who was released from prison on 02/01/2000 for the fifth time since 1978, ended up back in the auto theft business and also began using and selling methamphetamine.  Here are some of the known facts about Levesque revealed during investigation: 

  • He was captured on video tape dropping the victim’s vehicle off at the Speedway on the afternoon of October 01, 2001.
  • Detectives have documented phone calls between Levesque and Kindred on the morning of October 01, 2001 between 7:44 a.m. and 9:05 a.m. After that 9:05 a.m. phone call with Robert Levesque, the family never spoke with C.H. again. We believe that Robert Levesque murdered C.H. soon after that final phone call.
  • At approximately 1:40 p.m. on October 01, 2001, surveillance videos and an eyewitness saw Levesque and 35-year-old Thomas “Chris” Defibaugh of Zephyrhills, Florida, in the victim’s vehicle in the Speedway parking lot.
  • The witness described Levesque and Defibaugh as being “dirty and sweaty.”
  • According to another witness, Levesque returned a borrowed 12-gauge shotgun approximately an hour before dumping the victim’s vehicle at the Speedway.
  • Based upon cell phone records, Levesque was in the Mulberry area before and after he and Defibaugh abandoned the victim’s truck at the Speedway Store in Lakeland. Because of this information and interviews of witnesses, we believe the victim’s body may have been disposed of somewhere south of Mulberry.

Furthermore, our investigation has revealed that the victim was supposed to have arranged to buy a “chopped” and re-plated stolen Ford pick-up truck from Levesque. Additionally, our investigation revealed that Levesque was at that time in possession of a stolen Ford F-350 truck from Sarasota County. At 10:47 a.m., Levesque made a phone call to a witness in Sumter County looking for a place to hide the stolen vehicle. According to witness statements, Levesque had taken money from several other individuals with the agreement to also sell them a Ford truck.  Kindred was in possession of between $2,000 and $5,000 at the time of his death/disappearance.

Because Levesque had not delivered on his promises he was now into several people who had paid him in advance.  Therefore, Levesque reportedly told C.H. that he would not be able to sell him the truck.  C.H. reportedly knew about the stolen Sarasota County truck and threatened to expose Levesque to police.    Sources tell us that it is believed that Levesque used the truck to lure him to an unknown area, where he was murdered. 

Levesque, still on probation for auto theft-related charges, was likely concerned that Kindred would expose his continuing criminal enterprise to law enforcement, which would result in Levesque’s probation being violated — a probation violation that, with additional charges, would likely result in the 49-year-old Levesque going back to prison for what would ultimately be the rest of his life.  Levesque and the victim were also associated with the sell and distribution of methamphetamine.

Since Kindred’s death/disappearance, the Polk County Sheriff’s Office has developed substantial additional criminal charges which have served to violate Levesque’s probation.  Some of the recent charges are: Trafficking in Stolen Property, False Application for VIN/Title, Fraud, and Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon.

Last week Levesque called Homicide Detectives Louis Giampavolo and Tommy VanSciver from jail and requested a “deal” to lead detectives to the body of C.H. Kindred.  Levesque ultimately got angry with the detectives and refused to further cooperate.

For the past 33 years, Robert E. Levesque has been in and out of jail/prison, and on and off probation for a variety of charges, most of which are related to vehicle thefts.

Levesque’s Dates in Florida State Prison:

In Custody Date Released
03/20/1978 07/08/1980
02/25/1983 07/26/1983
04/05/1990 10/05/1990
10/12/1993 11/22/1994
07/20/1995 02/01/2000

Charges/Prison Time/Probation Levesque has received:

Duval 11/10/77 Check Fraud 3/10/78 5 years
Pasco 9/29/81 Uttering Forgery 2/18/83 1 year
Pasco 9/29/81 Grand Theft  2/18/83 1 year
Lee 11/4/87 Grand Theft 9/14/93 5 years
Sarasota 3/28/89 2 cts. Grand Theft Auto 3/22/90 3 years each ct.
Polk 9/29/93 2 cts. Grand Theft  9/29/93 12 years each ct.
Polk 9/23/96 Trafficking in Stolen Property  8/23/96 3 years 6 months


Duval 9/24/80 Grand Theft 4/15/82 4 years
Lee 11/4/87 Grand Theft 9/14/93 10 yrs 8 mo 17 days
Lee 4/22/88 Grand Theft 12/15/89 5 years
Polk 3/22/93 2 cts. Grand Theft Auto 9/29/93 10 yrs 5 mo 17 days each

Based upon our investigation we are convinced that Robert Levesque is responsible for the murder of Charles “C. H.” Kindred. Furthermore, we believe that, including Chris Defibaugh, there are others who have  knowledge of and may have unwittingly participated in the murder before, during, or after.

“We are devoted to ensuring that Robert Levesque serves the remaining days of his life in the Florida State Prison.  I hope and pray that Mr. Levesque will at some point soon be held accountable for his deeds.” said Captain W. J. Martin.

To view the most recent mugshot photos of Levesque and Defibaugh, and surveillance video footage, click here.

We are asking anyone that believes Mr. Levesque has betrayed them, or has any other information about this case, to please call Detective VanSciver or Giampavolo at the Polk County Sheriff’s Office at (863) 534-6379.  If anyone has information about this case and wishes to remain anonymous, please call Polk County Crimestoppers at 1-800-226-TIPS. 

Distribution: Undersheriff, Division Commanders, Communications, News Media

A text only version of this release is also available.

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