Detectives have identified two Miami men as suspects in last year’s slaying of a Palm Beach gynecologist — and one of the suspects may be on the lam in Cuba.
Newly released Miami-Dade court documents detail the investigation into the slaying of Dr. Ronald Oliver Schwartz, 65, who was found shot to death inside his Jupiter-area home in July 2015.
One suspect, Saul Retana Lopez, 27, was earlier arrested and charged with first-degree murder. The second suspect, Marcos Ernesto Yanes Gutierrez, 19, is “believed to have fled to the country of Cuba to evade authorities,” according to a search warrant filed in court last week.
Even though Retana Lopez was initially arrested in September, the Palm Beach Sheriff’s Office did not issue a press release announcing the names of the suspects until Tuesday, after the Miami Herald inquired about the case.
Detectives “are currently working with federal authorities regarding extradition” of Gutierrez, a Palm Beach Sheriff’s spokeswoman said.
Retana Lopez is charged with first-degree murder and armed robbery. His defense lawyer did not return a phone call from the Miami Herald on Tuesday.
Police discovered Schwartz’s body when a friend called police to report the doctor had stopped answering his phone. Inside the home, in a neighborhood known as Jupiter Farms, officers found Schwartz — bullet wounds to the face and torso — dead inside his ransacked bedroom.
Schwartz was an Emory University graduate who was known to keep large amounts of cash and gold bullion in his home, police wrote in the warrant.
Detectives immediately looked at Retana Lopez, who along with his brother worked washing Schwartz’s cars and boats and doing other odd jobs. Schwartz had recently fired Retana Lopez after the man allegedly stole an Emory class ring from the doctor.
Inside Retana Lopez’s Allapattah home, detectives found a red Nike box stuffed with a “large amount” of $20 bills and two rings owned by Schwartz. They also found jewelry and other items believed stolen from the doctor’s home, including two-dollar bills. Schwartz kept a large stash of the unusual bills.
Three pistols were also found, Palm Beach Sheriff’s Detective John Chapman and Miami-Dade Detective Robert Miller wrote in a search warrant for a car believed to have been driven by the suspects to the crime scene.
Police believe Gutierrez left some of the stolen items with a friend while he went to Cuba. Another witness told detectives that after the slaying, Gutierrez called to say he was leaving to Cuba after he “did something stupid in Jupiter.”
Cellphone records placed Retana Lopez in Jupiter the night of the murder, the search warrant said.
According to the warrant, a Glock pistol found inside the Allapattah home matched the bullets that killed Schwartz. Renata Lopez’s DNA was found on the Glock. The doctor’s DNA was also found on a .22-caliber High Point pistol also found in the Miami home, police said.
Confronted with the evidence, Retana Lopez admitted that he and Gutierrez had driven to the Jupiter-area home and knocked on the door “to speak to him about getting his job back.”
During a confrontation, the doctor walked into his bedroom and grabbed a gun, shooting Retana Lopez in the arm before the man shot him in the rib cage, the warrant said.
According to the warrant, Gutierrez picked up the dying doctor’s pistol, stood over him and “shot him in the head.”