Sheriff Grady Judd is pleased to announce that during 2010 and 2011, the Polk County Sheriff’s Office Homicide Unit successfully cleared every case it was assigned to investigate. The number of homicides in the Sheriff’s Office’s jurisdiction (including the contract cities of Dundee, Eagle Lake, Fort Meade, Frostproof, Mulberry, and Polk City) in 2011 was 12; the number of homicides in 2010 was also 12. The homicides are reported annually to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement as a part of the annual collection of UCR (Uniform Crime Reports) crime statistics for the State of Florida.
All of the homicides investigated by PCSO both years were either cleared by arrest or warrant, or by the self-inflicted death of the suspect (there was one murder-suicide each in both 2010 and 2011). Five of the homicides in 2010 were considered domestic in nature, compared to six in 2011 that were considered domestic violence related.
Of significance in 2011 was the George Rivera case. Rivera was reported missing out of Orange County by his wife on January 9, 2011. On February 7, 2011, PCSO deputies responded to an unidentified man’s body found in a wooded area off Sweet Pea Court in Poinciana. After quickly identifying the body as that of Rivera, PCSO Homicide detectives were able to identify the suspects as Manuel Ayala (whose wife was having an affair with Rivera) and his associate, Julio Morales-Rivera. Both suspects were subsequently arrested and charged with First Degree Murder and Conspiracy to Commit Murder.
The 12 homicides in unincorporated Polk County (including one case in Dundee, for which the Polk County Sheriff’s Office is responsible for primary law enforcement duties) were:
1 – January 2, 2011 – The victim, Radiah Craft-Enzor, was fatally stabbed by her husband, Reginal Enzor, which was witnessed by her son. Enzor fled the scene but later turned himself in, and he remains in the Polk County Jail on several charges, including First Degree Murder.
2 – January 8, 2011 – The victim, Juan Castillo, was fatally shot by the suspect, Alejandro Baez-Garcia, during a drive-by shooting. Another man was also shot during the incident, and he survived. Garcia was arrested and charged with First Degree Murder and one count Attempted First Degree Murder.
3 – January 9, 2011 (body found on February 7th) - The victim, George Rivera, was fatally shot by the suspect, Manuel Ayala. His accomplice, Julio Morales-Rivera, was also arrested and both suspects were charged with First Degree Murder and Conspiracy to Commit First Degree Murder.
4 – January 14, 2011 (body found on February 16th) – The victim, Curtis Chancey, was fatally shot by the suspect, Jim Hinson, who then dumped Chancey’s body in a pond on Bulger’s Nursery property. Hinson was arrested and charged with First Degree Murder.
5 – February 26, 2011 – The victim, Agueda Maldonado, was found deceased in a motel room in Dundee. The autopsy showed she had been stabbed to death. Detectives quickly developed her boyfriend, Jesus Flores, as the suspect, and obtained a warrant for his arrest. He was located in Seminole County and transported to the Polk County Jail for First Degree Murder.
6 – March 14, 2011 – The victim, Tommy Chandler, was fatally shot by the suspect, Levon Freeman. Freeman was arrested and charged with First Degree Murder.
7 – March 22, 2011 – The victim, Tara Romonoski, was found deceased in her home on March 29th during a well-being check by deputies. Autopsy revealed she was strangled. Detectives quickly identified her boyfriend, Donald Failey, as the suspect, and he was located in Clewiston, Florida. He was arrested and charged with First Degree Murder.
8 – May 2, 2011 – The two victims, Anthony and Mary Jane Hill, were found deceased in their home by their son, who was concerned after not hearing from them. Detectives determined that Mrs. Hill fatally shot her husband, and then committed suicide.
9 – May 8, 2011 – The victim, Kentavius Ingram, was fatally shot in Fort Meade after a verbal argument about music escalated into violence. Detectives developed Brandon Mays as the suspect. Mays was located in Hillsborough County, arrested, and charged with First Degree Murder.
10 – September 6, 2011 – The victim, Tina Donelson, was fatally stabbed by her live-in boyfriend, David McCorkle, during an argument. He also fatally stabbed the family dog. He was arrested and charged with Second Degree Murder.
11 – September 18, 2011 – The victim, Theresa Fogle, was fatally shot by her husband, Jeremiah Fogle. After shooting his wife in their home, Fogle then went to a nearby church and shot two pastors, who survived their wounds. Fogle was arrested on several charges, including First Degree Murder.
12 – November 4, 2011 – The victim, Nicole Fields, was reported missing from Osceola County by her mother. Fields’ body was found by Osceola and Polk deputies in Poinciana on November 11th. Her boyfriend, Steven Louis, confessed to stabbing Fields to death in Polk County. Louis was arrested and charged with Second Degree Murder.
In 2010, the PCSO Homicide Unit also investigated and successfully cleared 12 homicides, beginning with the armed home invasion and fatal shooting of Bryon Clark on January 18, 2010, resulting in the arrest of one of the suspects and warrants issued for the other three; and ending with the homicide of Elder Chilin by Israel Perez, who drove to Florida from Georgia on December 15, 2010, and fatally shot Chilin.
Of significance in 2010 was the Marco Martinez case. Marco was reported missing by his family on April 5, 2010. First PCSO patrol deputies, then the PCSO Missing Persons Unit and the PCSO Homicide Unit, worked tirelessly following up leads and interviewing everyone in the community who might have known something about Marco’s disappearance. Through their investigation, detectives identified Santos Hernandez as the last person seen with Marco. After several months of investigation and multiple interviews with Hernandez, he gave detectives information on where to find Marco’s body. After detectives recovered Marco’s remains, they interviewed Hernandez a final time. During this interview, Hernandez admitted his involvement in the Marco’s murder. He told detectives that he and Marco became engaged in a verbal argument over money. He said a physical fight ensued, which ultimately ended with Hernandez shooting Martinez once in the head and then stabbing him multiple times. Santos was arrested and charged with First Degree Murder.
In addition to the aforementioned homicides, detectives assigned to the PCSO Homicide Unit also responded to and investigated numerous other deaths in unincorporated Polk County in 2010 and 2011, such as unattended natural deaths, accidental deaths, suicides, etc.
“Violent crimes such as homicides, home invasions, and robberies, are often difficult to prevent, and difficult to solve. However, our detectives are the very best in the business, and when they start working a case, they don’t stop until the suspects are caught. Part of the reason we are enjoying a historically low crime rate in Polk County is because we are diligent, professional, highly trained, highly skilled, highly motivated, and we solve cases. We put bad guys in jail. It’s just that simple.” – Sheriff Grady Judd