A fifth suspect in the gruesome machete slaying of 17-year-old Job Corps student Jose Santos Amaya Guardado was taken into custody this week.
Miami-Dade police said they found Joseph Michael Cabrera, 23, of Key Largo, at a home in the St. Louis area. He remained in Missouri Thursday afternoon, his exact charges unknown publicly, hidden in a sealed arrest warrant.
Police believe that Cabrera and four others — Kaheem Justin Arbelo, 20, Jonathan Isaiah Lucas, 18, Christian Raul Colon, 19, and Desiray Alisha Strickland, 18 — lured Guardado into the woods in Homestead near the school in June. Then they are believed to have hacked him to death with a machete, before burying him in a shallow earthen grave.
Details of the brutal Lord of the Flies-like killing have made national headlines.
Police believe the suspects ambushed the bespectacled Guardado in the woods. Then, according to police, Strickland grew upset after missing a series of strikes with the machete, stepped away to urinate, helped cleaned up the crime scene, and had sex with Arbelo in the woods before returning to the campus of Job Corps. The school, which offers vocational training for at-risk students, is run by the U.S. Department of Labor. It was shut down after the killing.
Miami-Dade police said Arbelo, Colon and Lucas confessed to luring Guardado into the woods. A trial date is set for Oct. 19, though prosecutors could present the case to a grand jury to try to secure a first-degree murder indictment, which would make the suspects eligible for the death penalty.