Florida detectives expanded their search nationwide as they look for a man in his 20s in connection with a possible homicide in a Cocoa motel room. The man may have been heading toward South Florida — possibly to the Hialeah area, CBS4 reported — in the victim’s car.
According to authorities, the suspect is a white man in his early-to-mid 20s with dark hair, a short goatee and average build. He was last seen wearing a black short sleeve, button down shirt, loose fitting blue jeans and black shoes.
Authorities say the victim, identified as Terry Scott Hilliard, a 65-year-old man from Ocala, was seen checking into the Dixie Motel in Cocoa in Brevard County at approximately 5 p.m. Tuesday. He was accompanied by the suspect.
Hilliard was in Brevard to watch SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy launch on Tuesday, ABC’s WFTV 9 reported. His car, a Chevrolet Cruz, was recovered Wednesday afternoon abandoned at a plaza in Hialeah at 11093 NW 138th St., Cocoa Police Department shared on Facebook. The plaza is located near the intersection of the Turnpike and U.S. Highway 27/North Okeechobee Road.
The police say this could make “it likely the suspect could have hitched a ride to another part of South Florida or Southwest Florida.”
Statewide and national bulletins have been issued. The suspect may be armed and due to the nature of the homicide should be considered dangerous, police say.
Motel employees became suspicious when Hilliard hadn’t checked out of his room by 11 a.m. Wednesday. A worker knocked on the door and discovered Hilliard’s body.
Detectives are working with the victim’s family and agents with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to ID the suspect and gather evidence.
Have information? Call the Central Florida CRIMELINE at 800-423-TIPS. Callers can remain anonymous and may be eligible for cash rewards up to $5,000.