Florida Keys

She arrived home after beer and poker at the VFW. The fire is not what killed her

Yellow tape surrounds a house at 720 Ponce de Leon Blvd. in Key Largo where the body of 70-year-old Mary Bonneville was found Saturday, Octl. 21, by Key Largo volunteer firefighters. Detectives believe she died before the fire, based on wounds they found on her body
Yellow tape surrounds a house at 720 Ponce de Leon Blvd. in Key Largo where the body of 70-year-old Mary Bonneville was found Saturday, Octl. 21, by Key Largo volunteer firefighters. Detectives believe she died before the fire, based on wounds they found on her body

Mary Bonneville, 70, was found dead by Key Largo Volunteer Fire Department firefighters the night of Oct. 21 after they extinguished flames at her Ponce de Leon Boulevard home, off mile marker 102.2 behind the Veterans of Foreign Wars post.

Detectives say Bonneville had wounds to her body that were not caused by flames or smoke. Her death was ruled a homicide later that month.

Judy Olson, director of operations at the Monroe County Medical Examiner Office, said Bonneville’s autopsy report still is not complete, so the manner in which she was killed has not been released.

Bonneville was a regular at the VFW bar, where she’d spend about four hours just about every evening sipping on beer and playing video poker games, friends and staff at the VFW said.

Her routine was no different the night she was murdered. She arrived about 4 p.m. and left around 8:30 p.m. Since she lived only about 100 yards away, she walked home that night as was usual.

Deputy Becky Herrin, media relations officer with the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office, said no suspect has been arrested in the case and detectives continue to follow up on leads.

“Anyone with information about the case should contact the Sheriff's Office. Callers who wish to remain anonymous can call Crime Stoppers of the Florida Keys. If a Crimestoppers tip leads to an arrest, the caller would be eligible for a cash reward,” Herrin said in an email Wednesday. “The Crimestoppers hot line number is 800-346-TIPS. Tips may be made anonymously on line at www.P3tips.com/139.”

Two days after her murder, the case took on a new twist after detectives arrested a Key Largo man, Eddy Lopez Jemot, 50, whose girlfriend, Magdalena Soutelo-Rodriguez, said he threatened to stab her and burn down her house. According to Soutelo-Rodriguez, Jemot bragged that he’s killed people before and torched their homes several times in the past.

The confrontation between Jemot and Soutelo-Rodriguez happened in the parking lot of the VFW, about 10 minutes before Bonneville’s home was found in flames. Police say Jemot was holding a knife and trying to force his way into Soutelo-Rodriguez’s van while he was making threats, according to detectives.

Soutelo-Rodriguez told detectives that Jemot said, “I am going to burn up your house so you know what it would be like to have nothing,” according to the arrest affidavit. She also said Jemot threatened to “rip off her head.”

Soutelo-Rodriguez was able to push Jemot out of the way and drive off in her van.

Jemot was charged with armed burglary and assault with a deadly weapon. He’s in Monroe County jail, held on a total bond of $100,638. His next scheduled court appearance is a status hearing on March 3 at the Plantation Key courthouse.

Police will not comment if the two cases were related.

David Goodhue: 305-440-3204

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