Florida

A massive Florida manhunt for this murder suspect just ended — in an unlikely place

Ricardo Fuentes
Ricardo Fuentes Alachua County Sheriff’s Office

It was a team effort, but law enforcement got it done.

On Tuesday, a body of a missing Florida woman was found in a shallow grave in Micanopy, south of Gainesville, according to a press release from the Suwannee County Sheriff's Office.

Delia Cruz's makeshift grave was located near the residence of her boyfriend, Ricardo Fuentes, who was the prime suspect in her disappearance. Officers got a tip from the woman's family member that Fuentes, who sometimes goes by the name of Ruben Gutierrez, had confessed to killing the victim and burying her near his house.

Police launched a multi-county manhunt after Fuentes had reported Cruz, 32, missing Monday, then disappeared temporarily himself.

TV's Fox 35 says beside the SCSO, the Alachua, Jacksonville and Marion County sheriff’s offices were involved in the air-and-land effort as well as the Florida Highway Patrol, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and the Florida Department of Corrections.



On Wednesday morning, Gutierrez was tracked to a vacant house back in Micanopy, in an area where law enforcement officials had originally been searching. He was taken into custody with the help of a K-9 unit from the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office.

According to a Facebook post, JSO K9 “Huk” and Officer Cheth Plaugher found the suspect hiding in a bathroom. He fought the capture and reportedly sustained injuries from a dog bite.

The 35-year-old has a serious rap sheet: Fuentes served 10 years for attempted murder and is a registered sex offender on probation for a sexual battery committed in 2004 in Marion County.

Fuentes was booked into the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office Department of the Jail for crimes related to two residences that police say he broke into while on the run. He will eventually return to Suwannee County to answer for these latest charges, the report says.

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