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PCSO News Release

Media Contact:
Eleazer, Carrie

Public Information Officer 
News Date: 5/16/2012 

 Jarol Santiago Located in Orlando, Arrested and Charged With First Degree Murder 


On Wednesday, May 16, 2012, Orlando Police Officers and Orange County Sheriff's deputies located Jarol Santiago, DOB 2/16/1972, who was the boyfriend of murder victim Diana Mercado and had a Polk County Sheriff's warrant for his arrest. PCSO Homicide detectives brought Santiago to PCSO and interviewed him, and placed him under arrest for First Degree Murder.

Excerpts from the affidavit narrative here: 

"ON APRIL 28, 2012, AT APPROXIMATELY 4:30 P.M., THE VICTIM, DIANA MERCADO (33), WAS REPORTED MISSING BY HER SISTER, VANESSA ROSADO. THE VICTIM WORKED AT DUNKIN DONUTS LOCATED AT 5614 US HWY. 98, LAKELAND. THE VICTIM WAS SUPPOSED TO BE AT WORK ON APRIL 28TH AT 6:00 A.M., BUT SHE DIDN'T SHOW UP FOR WORK. THE DUNKIN DONUTS MANAGER CALLED THE VICTIM'S HOUSE AND CELL PHONE AND LEFT VOICEMAILS FOR THE VICTIM. VANESSA DISCOVERED THE VOICEMAIL LATER IN THE DAY ON APRIL 28TH, THAT THE VICTIM HADN'T SHOWN UP FOR WORK. VANESSA BEGAN CALLING HOSPITALS AND THE POLK COUNTY JAIL TO ASCERTAIN IF THE VICTIM WAS THERE, BUT WAS MET WITH NEGATIVE RESULTS.

THE VICTIM'S BOYFRIEND, JAROL SANTIAGO (SUSPECT), HAD ALREADY TOLD VANESSA THAT THE VICTIM LEFT FOR WORK AT APPROXIMATELY 5:30 A.M. THE VICTIM'S VEHICLE WAS NOT AT HOME AND NOWHERE TO BE FOUND.

ON APRIL 29, 2012, AT APPROXIMATELY 6:00 A.M., THE VICTIM'S EXTENDED FAMILY MEMBERS FOUND THE 1999, BLACK CHRYSLER CIRRUS (A176QB), WHICH BELONGED TO THE VICTIM'S MOTHER, BUT WAS THE VEHICLE THE VICTIM USED TO GO TO WORK. THE VEHICLE WAS FOUND IN THE PARKING LOT OF THE PUBLIX PLAZA LOCATED AT 6767 US HWY. 98, LAKELAND. THE VEHICLE WAS PARKED IN THE SOUTH PARKING LOT BEHIND THE WELLS FARGO BANK. VANESSA NOTIFIED THE SHERIFF'S OFFICE WHERE THE VEHICLE WAS FOUND. THE VICTIM'S PURSE, CELL PHONE AND CAR KEYS WERE LOCKED INSIDE THE CAR AND ON THE FRONT, DRIVER'S SIDE FLOORBOARD OF THE VEHICLE. THE VICTIM'S DUNKIN DONUTS APRON

THE SUSPECT WAS INTERVIEWED TWICE ON APRIL 29TH AND PROVIDED A PUERTO RICAN ID AND SAID HIS NAME WAS ANTONIO VASQUEZ. THE SUSPECT STATED HE LAST SAW THE VICTIM AT APPROXIMATELY 5:30 A.M. ON APRIL 28, 2012, AS SHE WAS LEAVING FOR WORK. THE SUSPECT WAS SUPPOSED TO RIDE WITH THE VICTIM TO WORK SO HE COULD GO FIND A JOB, BUT ACCORDING TO THE SUSPECT, THE VICTIM WOULDN'T TAKE HIM BECAUSE HE WOKE UP TOO LATE. DURING BOTH INTERVIEWS, THE SUSPECT NEVER TOLD LAW ENFORCEMENT WHERE THE VICTIM'S BODY WAS LOCATED.

ON APRIL 30, 2012, AT APPROXIMATELY 4:00 P.M., THE VICTIM'S BODY WAS FOUND BY PCSO PERSONNEL APPROXIMATELY EIGHTY (80) YARDS BEHIND HER RESIDENCE IN A WOODED AREA. THE VICTIM'S BODY WAS DECOMPOSING. THE VICTIM'S BODY WAS COVERED WITH A BLACK TARP, A BLUE POOL COVER AND WOOD DEBRIS. THE VICTIM'S BODY WAS ON THE GROUND NEXT TO A CHAIN LINK DOG PEN. THE VICTIM WAS WEARING BLUE JEANS AND A WHITE TEE SHIRT.

DURING AN AUTOPSY CONDUCTED BY DR. VERA VOLNIKH OF THE DISTRICT 10 MEDICAL EXAMINER'S OFFICE, IT WAS DETERMINED THE VICTIM SUFFERED MULTIPLE STAB WOUNDS. THE VICTIM ALSO SUFFERED OTHER INJURIES, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO SEVERAL BROKEN RIBS, A BROKEN PELVIS, FRACTURED LEFT CLAVICLE AND ABRASIONS. DR. VOLNIKH'S OPINION WAS THE VICTIM'S MANNER OF DEATH WAS HOMICIDE.

ON MAY 16, 2012, AT APPROXIMATELY 11:04 A.M., THE SUSPECT WAS LOCATED IN ORLANDO BY ORANGE COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE DEPUTIES AND ARRESTED FOR AN ACTIVE WARRANT.

 

DURING A POST MIRANDA INTERVIEW WITH THE SUSPECT, HE FIRST ACTED AS THOUGH HE WAS SURPRISED THE VICTIM'S BODY WAS FOUND. HE THEN STATED THAT ON APRIL 28TH, HE WOKE UP WHEN THE VICTIM WAS GETTING READY FOR WORK. THE SUSPECT SAID HE AND THE VICTIM GOT INTO AN ARGUMENT BECAUSE SHE DIDN'T WANT HIM TO RIDE WITH HER TO WORK, BUT HE WENT WITH HER ANYWAY. THE SUSPECT ALLEGED THAT WHILE DRIVING DOWN THE ROAD, THE VICTIM STABBED HERSELF. THE SUSPECT ALLEGED HE AND THE VICTIM EXITED THE VEHICLE AT WHICH TIME THE VICTIM FELL DOWN AND THE VEHICLE RAN OVER HER BODY.

 

THE SUSPECT SAID HE THEN PICKED UP THE VICTIM, PUT HER IN THE VEHICLE AND DROVE HER HOME. THE SUSPECT SAID HE THEN HID THE VICTIM'S BODY IN THE WOODED AREA BEHIND THE RESIDENCE. THE SUSPECT SAID HE DROVE THE VEHICLE FROM THE RESIDENCE, THREW THE KNIFE OUT OF THE WINDOW, THEN PARKED THE VEHICLE AT THE PUBLIX PARKING LOT BEHIND THE WELLS FARGO BANK. THE SUSPECT SAID HE RODE A BICYCLE HOME."

Santiago has been booked in at the Polk County Jail and charged with First Degree Murder.