Missing Palm Beach Gardens Lyft driver case: what do we know so far?

OKEECHOBEE COUNTY, Florida – Investigators are trying to figure out who the body parts belong to that were found near where a man from Palm Beach Gardens went missing last week.

A warrant from Central Florida says that Matthew Flores is guilty of second-degree murder in the death of a man in Wauchula. He could be charged with more crimes related to the disappearance of Gary Levin, who was 74 years old.

In 2020, Flores is in jail because he broke the terms of his probation for drug and assault charges. He did this in Hendersonville, North Carolina.

The head of the Rutherford County Public Defender’s Office, which is defending Flores, thinks that prosecutors want to bring back the man who deputies said they caught driving a missing Lyft driver’s car on Thursday.

“I’m sure that as soon as they arrested Mr. Flores, the State of Florida already started the extradition process, given how serious the charges are,” said Laura Powell, the public defender for Rutherford County.

Flores told the judge last week that he was caught trying to drive to Hendersonville, where he was wanted for violating his probation.

Flores got out of prison in May of last year. He had been there for a year and a half for having drugs and hitting someone.

The most recent high-speed chase of Flores ended Thursday afternoon when Flores was caught running away after driving Levin’s Kia.

After prosecutors in Central Florida charged Flores with killing a man in Wauchula, a judge in North Carolina set the bond at $2 million.

“Unfortunately, our county sees a lot of bad things and bad people. Aaron Ellenburg, the sheriff of Rutherford County, said, “This is the third murder suspect we’ve caught since I took office on December 5.”

It’s still not clear what charges Flores will face in connection with Lyft driver Gary Levin’s disappearance.

The murder charges in Wauchula are much more serious than the alleged probation violations, which led to Flores’ arrest last week after a high-speed chase.

In the meantime, people in Okeechobee are trying to figure out if the human remains found over the weekend belong to Gary Levin.

Alfred Duncan

Alfred Duncan is a senior editor at The South Florida Daily, where he oversees our coverage of politics, misinformation, health and economics. Alfred is a former reporter and editor for BuzzFeed News, National Geographic and USA Today.

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